Yahsat firms win 10-year UAE telco licences

Al Yah Advanced and Star to offer satellite broadcasting services.
Yahsat, a fully-owned subsidiary of Mubadalla, is currently building a "multi-purpose satellite communications system."
Yahsat, a fully-owned subsidiary of Mubadalla, is currently building a "multi-purpose satellite communications system."

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The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has awarded two new telecoms licences to subsidiaries of Yahsat, accoding to Arabian Business.

The two companies – Al Yah Advanced and Star – were given ten-year permits to offer satellite services and satellite and broadcasting services, respectively.

While Al Yah Advanced will only provide telecoms services to the UAE government, Star will “meet the high demand for emerging applications in the satellite industry such as turn-key telecommunications solutions, broadband services and broadcasting services within the UAE,” a statement released by the TRA said.

“The TRA strategy aims to widen the services and the packages offered in the market through satellite providers,” said Mohamed Al Ghanim, the director general of the TRA.

“We fully believe that fair competition is a fundamental factor to drive the market forward and to ensure resourcefulness.”
Owned by investment giant Mubadala, Yahsat was awarded a licence to provide voice, data, video and internet connectivity to UAE customers in February this year.

Yahsat was only the third company – behind Etisalat and du – to be granted satellite communications services in the country.

"There isn’t much information available on Yahsat’s plans for Star, but I think that for the UAE they must have identified some opportunities in areas such as the enterprise market and perhaps in digital TV broadcasting,” Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Matthew Reed told Arabian Business.

“I don’t think Yahsat will be aiming at the consumer broadband market in the UAE (or the main part of the business broadband market) because for fixed broadband the UAE is so well-served by wireline networks, which are generally preferable to satellite.”

However, Reed added that Yahsat is targeting the more general broadband market in the Middle East and Asisa regions, specifically those remote areas that lack wireline networks, and where there is therefore a role for satellite as an alternative.

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