Satellite services have evolved from just providing bandwidth and enabling broadcasting, to now include data and video delivery solutions that encompass broadband Internet, VoIP, mobile communications, and broadcasting. The exponential rise in mobile adoption in Asia, which now accounts for one-third of the four billion mobile subscribers in the world(1), is the key catalyst that is fuelling Asia’s demand for satellite services.
While rapidly urbanised cities represent a large proportion of the growth of emerging markets in Asia, connecting rural communities beyond the reach of telecommunications infrastructure with cellular backhaul services has become an important untapped growing market eyed by major satellite players. Satellite’s critical role in enabling safe and effective communications in disaster recovery, military operations and offshore setups also continue to be growth areas for the sector in the Asia Pacific region.
“Asia Pacific has always been a very important market for us,” said Mr. John Warehand, PR Manager of Inmarsat. “For some of our services, such as our new mobile broadband BGAN X-Stream service, it is the fastest growing market. Our regular presence at CommunicAsia has been a consistently valuable part of our marketing activity. It has been the platform from which we have launched a number of different services and initiatives into the region.”
Warehand added, “This year, CommunicAsia will play a central role in the worldwide launch of our first global handheld service, the IsatPhone Pro. Our decision to debut the new service at CommunicAsia2010 is a reflection of the importance of the Asia Pacific market, and our belief in the show’s ability to reach key regional audiences and beyond.”
The recent trend of rising capacity demand for video services, in particular DTH (direct-to-home) TV broadcasting, propelled the growth of satellite operators. The popularity of television as an economical form of entertainment, especially during challenging economic times, has helped Pay TV operators maintain revenue streams and fuelled widespread of TV channels across Asia.
Asian countries exhibiting relatively low Pay TV penetration rates, including India, Indonesia and the Philippines, reflect promising prospects for global satellite players, and many of them made the move to enter and explore business opportunities in these developing markets. India’s Pay TV subscribers in 2009 numbered 19 million subscribers across six platforms and occupy about 14 per cent of the global Pay TV market of 131 million subscribers(2).
“The fast growing demand from Asian TV platform operators for content, in particular HD content would be a driver for growth in the Asian satellite industry in the next few years,” said Ms. Sabrina Cubbon, General Manager of Marketing at AsiaSat. “Opportunities are enormous in markets such as India for DTH service and digital cable service; Asia is driving the economic growth in the world and our focus will be on all the markets in this region.”.
Cubbon added, “BroadcastAsia provides an excellent platform where we can meet our customers and service partners, and market our capabilities of coverage and access to the Asian media and broadcast community. We also update our knowledge on the latest product development and service offerings on television broadcasting, content creation and distribution solutions showcased at the show.”
Combined with mobile Internet access, the GPS/LBS service applications are seen in the industry as valuable forms of revenue streams. Most handset manufacturers have launched GPS/LBS enabled handsets in the market, and revenues are projected to surpass US$14 billion by 2014.
“Satellite communications is an important sector to us,” said Mr. Victor Wong, Project Director of Communications Events from Singapore Exhibition Services, organiser of CommunicAsia and BroadcastAsia. “Satellite exhibitors are gathered at a dedicated area in the exhibition to encourage closer business networking and knowledge sourcing activities. Our Asian buyers, presented with a comprehensive and convenient marketplace, are able to seek the latest products and, services, industry trends and insights offered by the world’s leading satellite players.”