Shortage of capacity in South Africa for the World Cup will benefit Satellites


Shortage of capacity over Africa is likely to present a major challenge for OU providers as they prepare for the World Cup next year, and will be good news for satellite operators.

Graham Smith, GlobeCast’s Head of OU, reported that his company is preparing for the World Cup in South Africa. Despite newly announced extra fibre capacity and build up of undersea cables landing in several African regions, operators are rushing to build new satellites to launch into space and meet the new demand. Luxembourg-based SES reported a growth in occasional demand for special events' coverage.

But Israel-based SatLink CEO David Hochner reported that “From our point of view there is a huge shortage of capacity for occasional use to (...) Africa for the World Cup – and that’s something we are suffering today.”

Since customers expect live news and good quality, satellite transmission remains the key route in Africa right now. SatLink’s Hochner expects the next growth to come from permanent services, particularly from emerging markets including Africa. SatLink has acquired capacity on SES’s Astra 4A satellite at 5° East to launch a new platform for sub-Saharan Africa. SatLink’s multi-channel per carrier platform will support DTH services for Africa with uplinks from Europe and reception via dishes from 90cm in size.

Another player, Spacecom, is looking to geographical expansion and a continued focus on its core infrastructure business rather than new services. Arnon says the company will look to build its second position at 17° East (which will be occupied by the operator’s next satellite to launch, Amos 5) to complement its core slot at 4° West. Spacecom also intends to position another satellite, Amos 4, at a new position with coverage between 60° and 70° East with coverage over Asia and Africa. The 17° East position is also intended to cover the African market and the satellite will be equipped with steerable spotbeams to give it additional flexibility. “Africa is getting into video quite heavily and that’s where the growth will come from,” says Arnon.