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Monday, June 24, 2024

AVIA Forum Navigates Challenges of Satellite Sector

As the satellite industry continues to evolve, challenges and opportunities abound. Industry leaders from the Asia-Pacific region and around the world gathered at AVIA’s recent Satellite Industry Forum to discuss the state of the industry, addressing critical questions and sharing insights on the path forward.

The emergence of NGSO systems presents both opportunities and threats to traditional GSO operators. In the opening keynote, Patompob (Nile) Suwansiri, CEO, THAICOM, highlighted the need for adaptation and strategic partnerships to leverage respective strengths.

Despite challenges, the satellite broadband business remains relevant and lucrative. Suwansiri emphasized the importance of leveraging accumulated expertise and capital to invest in newer technologies and satellites, ensuring continued growth and relevance. “The fundamentals and know-how of doing the broadband business is still there and that is something that technology cannot replace,” said Suwansiri.

The ‘Asia-Pacific Satellite Leaders Roundtable’ also discussed the current state and future outlook of the satellite industry, with a focus on where the video industry is heading. Raymond Chow, Chief Commercial Officer, AsiaSat, emphasized their focus on providing end-to-end services and adapting to changing customer demands for global connectivity, with more vertical integration for a holistic view across the video business.

Conversations around the future of linear video continued with ‘The Customers Talk’. Paul Mattear, Head of Global SatCom (A&S), Amazon Web Services, highlighted the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs, emphasizing a symbiotic relationship between service providers and end-users. For Huang Baozhong, EVP, APT Satellite, maintaining a customer-centric approach is crucial for competitiveness.

Pranav Roach, President of Hughes Network Systems India, offered insights into how the “Norms, Guidelines and Procedures” (NGP) document for the implementation of Indian Space Policy is facilitating easier navigation of regulations and processes, thus benefiting private players in the sector. A notable aspect highlighted by Roach is the significance of spectrum allocation for satellite broadband. The NGP streamlines the process, ensuring administrative allocation to facilitate private sector involvement. Roach emphasized that auctions would have been counterproductive in this context.

Conversations also centred around the space industry, following the tumult and volatility of 2023. Dara Panahy, Partner, Milbank LLP, highlighted the ongoing democratization of the commercial space industry, with the need for incumbents to evolve by either scaling up or vertically integrating to better serve customers. Identifying key areas such as mobility, government services, IoT, and earth observation as lucrative opportunities, he underscored the pivotal role of space in the larger economy.

The Satellite Industry Forum concluded with senior industry executives convening for a high-level discussion on the future trajectory of the satellite industry. Sanjay Duda, CEO, Planetcast Media Services, highlighted his focus on the role of satellite technology in delivering media services, particularly for the video industry. He emphasized the continued relevance of satellite in delivering linear channels, especially in underserved regions like India, while acknowledging the pressure on costs and the evolving landscape of mobility. Katherine Gizinski, CEO, River Advisers, reiterated the importance of regulatory considerations, particularly regarding spectrum and physical space access. She advocated for greater industry cooperation to address sustainability concerns and anticipated closer scrutiny from regulators as the industry continues to expand.

The Satellite Industry Forum is proudly sponsored by Gold Sponsors SKY Perfect JSAT and MEASAT Satellite Systems; Silver Sponsors Arianespace, AsiaSat, COMSYS, Eutelsat, Gilat Satellite Network, Hughes, Integrasys, Marsh, Milbank LLP, Northtelecom, Rivada Space Networks and Thaicom.


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