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Asia FSS Execs Say DTH Will Remain Key Growth Driver, Cast Doubts on HTS


19 May 2013
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The “Regional Operators: Asia” panel at World Satellite Business Week painted an optimistic future for the key regional players in the region, with strong DTH advances likely to be the catalyst. “We see a lot of growth in video, new markets are opening up. We believe DTH is the future driver of growth,” said William Wade, CEO, AsiaSat. “In South East Asia, you have huge potential markets to address. There will be a significant level of growth coming from DTH applications with DTH in Asia; it is still quite early. We also think consolidation will help strengthen the market, and bring about more growth.”

For Measat Satellite Systems, growth in video is also key to its prospects going forward. “There is a very strong story for DTH. Our core business is DTH. We are in a strong growth phase, our current focus is expanding capacity to our existing customers – our DTH customers are needing more capacity,” said Paul Brown Kenyon, CEO, Measat Satellite Systems. Although, he admits we could start to see some consolidation among DTH players in the region, especially in India and Indonesia. “I think in India, there will be room for around four operators. We support Sun Direct and Reliance TV. They could get together. We would support those two customers to get together,” he added.

Nile Suwansiri, SVP, marketing and business development, Thaicom, said the company was optimistic there would be increased demand for bandwidth in Thailand given there is likely to be a significant ramp-up in the number of HD channels that will be bought to market.

Tom Choi, CEO, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) said the company would continue to invest aggressively in new satellites going forward and that, like others in the region, DTH is the key behind the company’s ability to generate significant revenues. He said that the company’s ABS 2 satellite – which launches early next year – will have an 86 percent fill rate. ABS’s current backlog is $900 million, and in 2014, it will go beyond $1 billion, according to Choi. “The migration bandwidth on ABS 2 is around 30 percent, so 50-plus percent is new capacity. Our business model is that we use older satellites, to kick-start a location. Once that is done, we will design a satellite to meet requirements. Eighty percent of that $900 million backlog is from DTH customers,” he added.

The panel also debated the future of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and there was some reticence as to what impact they could have in Asia. Wade said the business case for HTS was “unproven” at this stage, and Brown Kenyon was worried the impact O3b Networks might have on its VSAT business. “We can’t see a compelling application for O3b in Malaysia. Now O3b is launched, it is up there and there is no going back. We are concerned about pricing issues here and this could impact our VSAT business,” he said.

Choi added that it was difficult to see the business case for a dedicated HTS in Asia, and pointed to the proliferation of wireless technologies as a reason why there may not be enough demand for capacity on these satellites.source Asia FSS Execs Say DTH Will Remain Key Growth Driver, Cast Doubts on HTS - Via Satellite
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