On March 28, the Israeli satellite operator Spacecom presented its new satellite AMOS-7 and announced a cooperation with the Ukrainian company “Ukrkosmos”.
In February, a new satellite AMOS-7 owned by Spacecom started beaming over Ukraine. Let us recall its intricate history. In September 2016, AMOS-6 was damaged because of the accident during pre-launch operations. The Spacecom faced a very difficult situation, because that satellite was supposed to replace AMOS-2, the warranty life service of which expired in October 2016. The satellites AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 hosted about half of Ukrainian TV channels, and the construction of another satellite would take at least two years. To save the Ukrainian market, the Spacecom took an out-of-box decision to buy the Malaysian satellite AsiaSat-8 and moved it to the spot 4°W.
AsiaSat-8 changed its name to AMOS-7 and became the most powerful satellite among those beaming over Ukrainian. The power of its beams reaches 59 dWB and 56 dWB.
In 2021, it is scheduled to launch the satellite AMOS-8, which will replace AMOS-7. The Spacecom is also working on the construction of AMOS-17, which will be equipped with Ka-band beams and additional steerable beams. The satellite will serve commercial and governmental interests.
Jehuda Amir, vice president for CIS and Romania sales at AMOS-Spacecom, told the Mediasat about the company’s strategy in Ukraine: “We understand that the austerity budget and cost optimization are now very relevant for the Ukrainian market players, so our strategy is based on the offering the most favorable terms to our customers. It should be remarked that for a lower price they will get services of even higher quality, since AMOS-7 today is the most powerful satellite in Ukraine. Thanks to the cooperation with the “Ukrkosmos”, we can offer convenient, reliable and favourable uplink and redundancy schemes. One of our activities is to establish cooperation with regional channels, which have not been present on the satellite until now”.
The detailed plans of “Ukrkosmos” were announced by Yuri Balychev, First Deputy Director General at the Company. Rebranding, creative presentation, energetic communication style, all these prove the intention to move away from the image of a conservative state-owned company that Mr. Balychev shared earlier with the Mediasat.
The active projects of the company remain the work on launching Ukrainian communications satellite “Lybid” and the services of the updated teleport.
The Mediasat already featured in detail the potential of the “Ukrkosmos”’s teleport. The new satellite signal compression technology will allow uploading HD signal at the price of the SD one, and the cost of distributing a TV channel via the satellite will be able to compete with its distributing via IP, while keeping the advantages in quality, guaranteed redundancy and flexibility when changing satellites. During the presentation, there emerged some more engineering features ensured by Harmonic equipment. Alexandr Radinov and Meir Litmanovich, who represented the company, told that the teleport was able to transmit signals in the Ultra HD standard without additional upgrade, as well as to provide OTT services. The latter excited a keen interest of the TV channels’ representatives, and Yuri Balychev promised to consider terms for introducing OTT service more in detail.
The teleport’s potential allows implementing plans to create a premium DTH platform, based on Ultra HD channels with unique content. The idea of the expediency of a premium pay-TV platform runs counter to the traditional vision that Ukraine can only demand cheap social services. On the other hand, it is obvious that there is a niche of consumers in Ukraine, who can pay extra for luxury and unique services, while there is no such offer to them. The problem is that this project requires a significant satellite capacity. If this problem is settled due to launching “Lybid”, or due to agreements with any satellite operator, so the idea of a premium DTH platform can be embodied.
Already at the launch stage, the joint project “Krajina TV” is focused on regional channels. Thanks to cooperation with the Spacecom, it became possible to try satellite broadcasting advantages on favorable terms.
For the first time, the Ukrkosmos announced plans to join the Urthecast Project. The international Earth remote sensing system by the Canadian company “OptiSAR” consists of 16 satellites in two orbit planes at an altitude of 450 km. The satellites are arranged in pairs, i.e. radar and optical (the radar one is master). The location of satellites will allow for an optimized multispectral land survey whatever the cloud cover. “We plan to use two satellites above the territory of Ukraine to exchange data with other countries”, as Yuri Balychev said.
According to the feedback of TV channels, the Mediasat managed to talk with on the sidelines, the cooperation strategy was adopted correctly and strengthened the positions of both companies. Despite the fact that the prices for services were announced evasively enough, it is obvious that the tandem “Ukrkosmos” – Spacecom succeeded in developing the most favorable price offer. We’ll follow the reaction of the TV channels that usually change satellite parameters reluctantly.