Yahsat partners with US' EchoStar to expand in Brazil

The American firm's subsidiary Hughes will hold the majority stake in the partnership

Yahsat CEO Masood Mahmood saiys latest tie-up to help connect remote communities in South America. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National
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Yahsat, the Mubadala Investment Company-owned satellite operator, agreed to form a joint venture with a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation to expand operations in Brazil.

The US firm through its subsidiary Hughes will provide commercial Ka-band satellite broadband services in the South American country, the companies said on Monday.

The Ka-band spectrum allows higher bandwidth communication. Hughes will be the majority shareholder in the joint venture.

The partnership will enable "social and economic development” by reaching communities in remote regions with high-performance broadband connectivity, said Yahsat chief executive Masood Mahmood.

"We now look forward to combining our efforts to unlock the massive potential of the largest and most exciting economy in Latin America,” he added.

The agreement with Hughes follows a 2018 tie-up that unrolled satellite broadband services in the Middle East, Africa as well as south-west Asian markets.

Following their latest venture, Hughes’ Brazilian entity will join forces with the Abu Dhabi firm's consumer broadband company in Brazil, to cater to a growing market for broadband services. The joint venture will service consumer internet access, enterprise networks, cellular backhaul and community Wi-Fi hotspot solutions.

Around 95 per cent of Brazilian population will be reached through their joint satellite capacity of more than 65 Gbps.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, as well as closing conditions, and is expected to be finalised later this year, the Yahsat said.

Last year, the company completed the acquisition of a majority stake in the mobile satellite services firm, Thuraya Telecommunications Company, which will add to the Abu Dhabi firm's fleet, expanding it to five in total.

Yahsat launched its third satellite Al Yah 3 in January 2018 and anticipates greater demand for satellite broadband services on the back of higher uptake in Internet of Things-serviced industries such as oil and gas and on the growth of sustainable cities in the Middle East.