National Telecom unlikely to set high-capacity specifications for first satellite

Photo Courtesy Bangkok Post

National Telecom (NT), formed from the merger of TOT and CAT Telecom, is focusing on providing satellite specifications for state agency demands, which are estimated to increase by 7% annually, as stated by a top-ranking executive. With the satellite set to launch in the 126° East slot within the coming three years, determining its specifications is paramount. The firm aims to align these specifications with state demand for satellite bandwidth and to facilitate universal telecom service access in more remote areas.

At present, state agencies utilize approximately 850Mbps of satellite bandwidth, with this expected to grow by 6-7% each year. To accommodate this rise in demand, state agencies are planning to use the free satellite bandwidth capacity of approximately 800 Mbps, provided by two Thaicom satellites that are in development reports Bangkok Post.

In January, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held the country’s first auction for satellite orbit slots, with five packages on offer. Space Tech Innovation, a Thaicom affiliate, won the second and third packages, while NT secured the fourth package.

As per the third package slot auction conditions, the winner must allocate one transponder per broadcasting satellite or 400 Mbps of capacity per broadband satellite for state agencies to use without charge. Thaicom is planning to launch two satellites in this slot.

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NT is set to announce the chosen advisory company by August, with a deadline to finalize the satellite specifications by year-end. In addition, negotiations with satellite operators in China and Japan are required, alongside communication with the International Telecommunication Union, to prevent potential signal interference between satellites.

The NT satellite project investment will be overseen by the NBTC. The commission’s management plans include the creation of a point-of-presence for the satellite in the 126° East zone aimed at encompassing certain Indonesian, Philippines, and Malaysian markets.

The National Space Policy Commission and the National Digital Economy and Society Commission appointed NT to partake in the NBTC’s orbital slot auction in January. NT currently operates Thaicom 4 and Thaicom 6 satellites; the firm’s 30-year concession expired, leading to the transition of its two satellites and their operations and services to the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

NBTC official Thanapant Raicharoen confirmed that both NT and Space Tech Innovation have made their first installment payments for their respective slots. The NBTC board is expected to consider and approve licenses for the two companies shortly.

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