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Tue 11 May 2010 08:03 AM

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Qatar signs deal to launch first satellite

Agreement with France's Eutelsat Comms will see satellite launched by end of 2012.

Qatar signs deal to launch first satellite

Qatar is set to launch its first satellite by the end of 2012 as part of a deal signed between its Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQatar) and Eutelsat Communications of France.

The satellite project, named Eshail, will cost more than $300m, of which Qatar's share is more than 50 percent, the companies said in a statement.

Dr Hessa Al Jaber, ictQatar secretary general, said the agreement was important because it would "secure its strategic interests in communications capabilities" in terms of broadcasting, communications and government services.

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, told the paper: “The project is a Qatari investment that has two dimensions. The first is financial investment and the second is media in view of the possession by Qatar of a lot of stations and satellite channels."

To be launched at the end of 2012 by an Ariane rocket, the satellite will provide superior coverage across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, the paper reported.

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