Intelsat Continues Latin American Drive

By | October 10, 2002 | Feature

Intelsat’s two recent deals with Latin American broadcasters underline the importance the operator is placing on this market to drive revenues.

Ruben Levcovitz, regional vice president for Latin America sales at Intelsat, told Interspace that he believes Intelsat’s Latin American operation, which already contributes over 10 per cent of its overall revenues, will increase still further. “There are more than 10 satellite operators providing space segment in Latin America. So, we need to be very savvy to get deals in the region. Intelsat has been providing services in the region for many years. In 2001 Latin America accounted for 13 percent of overall revenues for Intelsat. I believe that satellites will continue to play an important role in Latin America and we plan to continue providing satellite services that respond to the needs of our customers in the region.”

The latest deals saw Intelsat sign agreements with Radio Television Guatemala to bring seven new television channels and 10 new radio stations throughout Guatemala. It also signed a 15-year deal with Red Global to distribute 100 broadcast and TV systems within Peru. It is the fourth Peruvian broadcaster to join Intelsat’s video community at the 304.5 degreesE orbital location. These deals were announced in September.

The drive to increase revenues will be aided by Intelsat’s new video services unit, which was formed in September. Levcovitz believes this unit could play a key role in Latin America. He said: “The creation of the video services unit is a very important step for Intelsat. As a result, we have consolidated our solid marketing and sales expertise and experience in the area and we will focus our efforts on positioning Intelsat as a major player in the global video community. The creation of a separate unit for video services should help a lot in the Latin American initiatives that we are developing.”

But, with its unique dynamics, Latin America is a key battleground for satellite operators. The region has many countries with low density, and in particular the demand for Internet services is growing strongly. There are a number of opportunities for satellite players, despite the difficult economic conditions in countries such as Argentina. Levcovitz admits: “In many countries like Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, the government is promoting universal applications including rural telephony and Internet access. Satellite technology is really well suited to provide such applications. The growth in the satellite market in Latin America is expected to be more in the areas of the distribution of Internet, rural telephony and point-to-multipoint applications such as video and other broadcasting applications. We are pursuing customers that would use our satellites to distribute Internet and video in many countries in Latin America.”

Intelsat’s investment in new satellites should also pay dividends in Latin America. Levcovitz explains how the new satellites will play a key role in the region. He said: “In the past year and a half we have launched six of our IX-series satellites and we have one additional IX-series satellite and two of the X-series currently expected to be launched in 2003. Four of the seven satellites in the IX-series and the two X-series satellites are going to provide coverage and high power for customers in Latin America.”

–Mark Holmes

(Andrea Fabbri, Intelsat, e:mail: andrea.fabbri@intelsat.com)

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