6 March 2015
Channel News Asia – Today Online
Satellite technology on the rise in Asia
Satellite technology is gaining ground in Asia. Asia-Pacific satellite telecommunications revenues hit USD 2.9 billion in 2014 – a quarter of global revenue. Japnit Singh, Senior Director for Singapore and India of Spire Research and Consulting, shared his insights on this growing industry with China Daily – Asia Weekly.
Whether it is commuters in Hong Kong’s subway reading their daily news on smartphones or farmers across rural regions in Asia using mobile phones for banking, ordering fertilizer or selling crops, satellite-based data transmission has penetrated everyday life.
With the rise of the middle-class in Southeast Asia (SEA), demand for more digital content on phones, home TV screens and at offices is skyrocketing. The demand for satellites is coming both from emerging markets such as Myanmar and Cambodia as well as more mature markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singh highlighted that Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite broadcasting is set to drive growth for Asian transponder demand this year. DTH uses satellite technology to provide services to remote areas or those underserved by terrestrial broadcasting.
At the same time, media services are on the rise – driven especially by smartphone users under the age of 30. As video migrates to more High-definition formats, the benefits of satellite technology become more compelling.
However, Singh remarked that domestic satellite production in SEA is still at a nascent stage. The governments of Vietnam and Malaysia have development programs in place for domestic satellite technology. Malaysia’s communications satellite operator MEASAT launched their MEASAT-3b satellite in 2014 at a cost of USD370 million, so as to expand data and video services across Indonesia, Australia, India and Malaysia. In Vietnam, the Hanoi University of Science and Technology launched an international Research and Development (R&D) centre for satellite navigation technology in SEA.
Apart from Japan, China and India, no other countries in Asia have the capability to build and launch large satellites. Building satellites is a costly affair – with expenditures as high as USD500 million.
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