Thales Alenia Space is expecting to sign an agreement in forthcoming months to construct a communications satellite for Nepal, a Himalayan nation of 30 million without domestic satellite operator.
The Franco-Italian satellite manufacturer stated it signed a legal contract with the Nepal Telecommunications Authority on March 11, one week after a conference between Nepali and French government officials yielded a letter of intent with regards to Nepal’s wish for a national communications satellite.
“There is no firm contact until now , only a contract however we hope to sign it in the forthcoming months,” Thales Alenia Space spokesperson Sandrine Bielecki stated by email.
Nepal has reserved an orbital slot with the International Telecommunication Union for a C-and Ku-band satellite that probably would start in 2022 and operate from 123.3 degrees East, Thales Alenia Space stated.
In a statement released by Thales Alenia Space, Nepal’s minister of Communication and Information Technology, Gokul Prasad Baskota, emphasized Nepal’s wish to connect its population with broadband.
“To successfully compete with other countries , to provide high-speed internet to all our citizens and to be identified regionally , we require Nepal to accelerate its pace towards digitization,” he declared. “No one must be left behind on this path . Our National Satellite will be helpful to us jump into a better future.”
Numerous regional satellite operators, as well as Thaicom of Thailand, Hong Kong-based AsiaSat, Malaysia-based Measat and Sky Perfect JSAT of Japan currently have C- and/or Ku-band coverage of Nepal. Global fleet operators Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat all cover Nepal as well.
A satellite order would add Nepal to a crowded listing of new entrants in the Asia-Pacific , a market where fragmented regulatory have access to and ever increasing numbers of national satellite operators makes for what numerous satellite operators explain as a challenging business environment.
Recent national entrants include Laos, which started its first satellite in 2015, and Bangladesh in 2018. New private satellite operators are also preparing spacecraft, such as Pacific, whose Kacific-1 condos at launches this year, and Thai startup Mu Space, which issued a request for suggestions last June for a satellite it hopes to launch in 2021.