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Wed 26 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Saudis opt for satellites

The demand for high quality infrastructures is growing within Saudi Arabia. As such, a number of companies are looking at satellite technology.

The demand for high quality infrastructures is growing within Saudi Arabia. As such, tier one companies are investigating every possible method of creating high quality networks. One of the current favourites is satellite, which has existed as a grey market for some time but received an official boost late last year as four very small aperture terminal (VSAT) licenses were issued.

“VSAT is growing in popularity now the new licenses have become available and there is a lot of interest from government departments. It is an ideal solution for Saudi Arabia where there are scattered packets of population and vast tracts of land where there is no connectivity,” says Jonathan Higgins, head of systems engineering at 7E Satellite Networks.

“It is relatively low cost and can be tailored to what a customer requires. It can address not only data but voice as well,” he adds.

Detecon Al Saudi Company, one of the four recently licensed VSAT operators, is targeting both large enterprises and medium sized businesses with its services as it believes both are increasingly looking for cross Kingdom connectivity.

“Customers investing in VSAT are mainly in education, tele-medicine, government and aviation. It is for medium sized companies up to ministries,” says Dr Harald Stange, Detecon’s business unit director.

“Customers already know about satellite due to the long existing grey market and they are investing because they are dissatisfied with the existing infrastructure. They see that there is now a more open market and they want more bandwidth,” he adds.

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