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Update Bausch optimistic for Solaris mobile - 23-November-2008, 15:50

Bausch optimistic for Solaris mobile

Solaris Mobile is the j-v between SES Astra and Eutelsat, looking to go live with an S-band satellite payload in the Spring of 2009. However, first it has to win its frequencies to operate. SES CEO Romain Bausch is optimistic.

Bausch said his j-v with Eutelsat, Solaris Mobile, was hopeful of being selected by the European Union as one of two new S-band operators for mobile data. The EUs selected candidates will run transmission services for mobile TV as well as communications for land and sea transport, as well as emergency and rescue services.

The take-off of mobile TV in Europe has stumbled with argument over whether European operators would select a single standard. Additionally telcos are keen to see some return on investment of their huge investment in 3G licences.

"The challenge is obviously to see to what extent mobile TV will take off in Europe," Bausch said in an interview at Morgan Stanley's annual Technology, Media and Telecoms conference in Barcelona. Bausch said the Eutelsat satellite was on track for its first-quarter scheduled launch, and the venture would be ready to start operating in mid-2009.

Astra and Eutelsat have teamed up to spread the risk of the new venture and have so far invested a total of 140m ($175m) in the project. Eutelsats satellite has additional missions besides that of mobile TV, and Bausch said it would take some time before Solaris Mobile would start to bring in significant revenues. "Definitely not in 2009. 2010 is still probably early days."
   
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