Companies are starting to see more opportunity in Asia, as the region finally seems to be breaking free from the era of overcapacity and depressed transponder prices. HDTV looks to be reaching a tipping point that could see it becoming a major business driver, and IP-based satellite services are gaining traction as well. Several companies have opened or beefed up their regional offices, and others have increased their presence at CommunicAsia to position themselves for these opportunities. The satellite industry is ready to make the necessary investments in Asia, but are the customers ready to make those investments pay off?
Some Intelsat investors will turn a nice profit in the latest ownership shuffle, but an already leveraged company will see its debt grow even further, hovering near the $15 billion mark.The cash flow brought in by the world’s largest satellite operator can service the debt, but what will be left to fund business growth or pay for replacement satellites? A slowdown in the market could leave Intelsat in an even more precarious position. What’s in it for the customers?
Perhaps no area of the world was hurt more by the shutdown of Boeingâ€™s Connexion service than the Asia-Pacific region, and there is no shortage of competitors who would like to fill that void. While many equipment manufacturers and potential service providers can identify where Boeing went wrong, no one has quite come up with the proper solution. One focus seems to be finding a way to offer airliners a satellite-based Internet service that meets the business needs of the aircraft operator and other interested parties in order to spread installation and operations cost around. Offering the service to passengers could then provide a revenue-generating opportunity. The demand is there, according to satellite industry officials, but how long will it take the industry to develop a more cost-effective solution than Connexion?
CommunicAsia 2007 opens as the satellite industry waits to hear who will own Intelsat, which is being offered for sale by its private equity investors. The past four days have brought a flurry of rumors about which company will win the bidding for the worldâ€™s largest satellite operator, with the most recent story possibly calling for a major comeback for satellite operator Loral Space and Communications. A winning bidder is expected to be chosen this week, which will certainly influence the discussions taking place throughout the show floor and forums.
The other notable story may be an absence, as Globalstar is nowhere to be found at the show, while rivals Iridium, Stratos and Thuraya are exhibiting as well as participating in the Mobile Satellite Services panel during the June 21 Satellite Forum. By ceding the stage to its rivals at one of the largest shows around the globe, it looks as though Globalstar does not want to face questions about the status of its satellite constellation even as the company continues to churn out press releases about expansion of its services.
Check back throughout the next three days to hear the latest on these items and other news coming from CommunicAsia 2007.