Eutelsat, Globacom, Others Subscribe to Nigcomsat-1

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The successful launch of Nigeria's communication satellite, NIGCOMSAT-1, has begun to yield dividends as both foreign and indigenous companies have initiated moves to subscribe to the services. Among the companies in this initial subscription deals are Eutelsat in Europe, Nigeria's Globacom, Link-serve, Celtel, and some other foreign firms in America, Hong Kong, China and the Governments of Kenya, Rwanda.

Making this known yesterday in Abuja, Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Ahmed Rufai, said Eutelsat has been offered slots in the Ku bandwidth for an asking price of $1.6 million while Globacom has indicated interest in acquiring about four channels. Rufai said because of the cheaper costs of high quality services being offered by the company, operators abroad have found it cheaper to do business with it than other satellite operators in their areas.

He said the comparative advantage of NIGCOMSAT-1 makes it the choice communications satellite currently in the world but that the company was cognizant of the need to allow Nigerian entities become prime beneficiaries of its services. The MD revealed that the satellite which cost $100 million less to build than it would have had it been built in Europe said the project was completed five months ahead of schedule to make it a record accomplishment.

According to him, a period of 33 months was envisaged for the completion of the project but due to doubled efforts, it was achieved in about 24 months, ascribing the feat to the dexterity of the Chinese and Nigerian engineers engaged for the job. He also said local banks in the country have approached the company with offers to off-set the debts borrowed by the Federal Government to finance the building of the satellite as further indications of the profitability of the project.

(This Day (Lagos), 1 June 2007)