The Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQatar) and Eutelsat Communications of France signed a partnership agreement yesterday to launch and operate Qatar’s first satellite, named Eshail.
The signing of the strategic alliance at the Emiri Diwan was witnessed by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani and Eutelsat Chairman Giuliano Berretta. The agreement was signed by Dr Hessa Al Jaber, ictQatar Secretary General, and Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO.
The Premier told reporters after the signing ceremony that the project’s total cost exceeds $300m, noting that Qatar’s share is more than 50 percent.
“The Eshail satellite is unique because it adopts a technical three-dimensional television stations that will all also cover radio stations, so that anyone can listen to radio stations in any place covered by the satellite as well as the Internet and all that is related to technology Eshail will cover,” the Premier said.
“The project is a Qatari investment that has two dimensions, the first is financial investment and the second is media in view of the possession by Qatar of a lot of stations and satellite channels and we want, as we have participated in the ground, to participate in space in some matters of concern to Qatar policy,” he added.
To be launched at the end of 2012 by an Ariane rocket, the satellite will provide superior coverage across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia than Eutelsat’s Eurobird 2 satellite.
Aside from securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and additional Ku-band resources for ictQatar, it will provide Ka-band capability, opening business opportunities for both parties.
This multi-mission architecture will enable both partners to respond to the fastest-growing applications in the Middle East and Africa, including video broadcasting, enterprise communications and government services. The television market will in particular benefit from the installed base of more than 13 million satellite homes already equipped for Direct-to-Home reception in this neighbourhood.
Dr Jaber said the agreement was important for ictQatar since it would secure its strategic interests in communications capabilities in terms of broadcasting, communications, government services and any other future innovative services that the local market will require.
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