Source: Vientiane Times
Companies in Laos and overseas have expressed an interest in using Laos’ first telecommunications satellite (Lao Sat-1) which was launched into orbit from China on November 21.
An official in charge of the project under the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Mr Keoviengxay Souliyavong, told Vientiane Times yesterday that several companies have said they would use the Lao Sat-1 after their contracts for transmission through existing satellites ended.
“Lao National Television have said they will make use of the satellite while companies in Cambodia and Myanmar have also expressed interest in buying satellite communications from us,” he said.
“We are in the process of establishing a joint venture company before business operations can commence. I think everything will be ready by the middle of next month.”
Mr Keoviengxay said there would be an official ceremony to hand over the satellite to Laos at the end of this month.
He said Lao Sat-1 would be cheaper to use than telecoms satellites operated by other countries but could not give details about costs.
Marketing teams working for the joint venture company are looking for customers in both Laos and overseas. “We will have some customers when our business operation begins,” Mr Keoviengxay said.
The Lao Sat-1 is a joint venture operated by Lao and Chinese companies.
The Lao government holds a 45 percent stake in the Lao Sat-1 Joint Venture Company, while APMT has a 35 percent shareholding, SSTC has 15 percent, and APST has a 5 percent stake.
A shareholders’ agreement for the Lao Sat-1 Joint Venture Company was signed by all sides in Vientiane on October 30 last year.
The project was funded by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China amounting to US$259 million.
According to a KPL News report, Laos will need to pay US$341 million, including interest payments of US$83 million.
The government has acknowledged that the country faces a big challenge in operating the satellite as the Lao Sat-1 will only function for 15 years.
This means Laos has to earn money from the satellite in a competitive market so that a new one can be acquired to replace it.
The Lao Sat-1 is in the 128.5 degrees East orbital slot. It can provide 22 transponders for both television and telephone telecommunications, but so far demand only requires two or three transponders. The launch of the Lao Sat-1 was a historic event for Laos, and was intended to provide communication links for government work, television transmission and a range of telecommunications applications.
The satellite will also be used for other purposes, in the fields of education, health, defence and security.