SES Talks to Samena Council: Interview from Mohammad Marashi
As a leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with a unique combination of global coverage and high-performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system.
Q: Currently 37 years in the business, SES is a pioneer in space. How will SES continue to play its role in satcoms and continue to deliver amazing experiences on Earth?
After 37 years of being in business, SES has grown from being a European player focussing on satellite TV distribution to a leading content connectivity solutions provider that is delivering innovative services to our data customers.
For both its Video and Networks businesses, SES always offers the latest and most advanced technologies to meet the ever changing and challenging demands of its partners and customers. Now, after almost four decades of service, SES continues to remain committed to placing our customers' needs above all and innovating to make sure we offer the best services.
Q: The most-awaited O3b mPOWER satellites will start launching this year. Please share with us the company's MEO journey that leads to O3b mPOWER.
SES’s MEO journey started back in 2009. We were one of the early investors of O3b Networks whose mission was to connect the other three billion.
For the last 10 years, we have seen how our MEO constellation positively shaped business and communities. For example, in the Central African Republic, service from O3b, has enabled Orange to rollout 3G and 4G cellular services in 10 cities. Orange was also able to provide better quality broadband services to businesses, boosting secured mobile data and payment services across the country.
After having seen how O3b has transformed our customers’ businesses and communities’ lives, it is no wonder that we started thinking how we can deliver even better performance and flexibility in connectivity services, and that is when we envisioned our second-generation of MEO satellites, O3b mPOWER. Built by Boeing, the O3b mPOWER satellites will start launching this year. Just like O3b, it will operate in the medium earth orbit at about 8,000km away from the Earth’s surface.
O3b mPOWER will be providing unrivalled high throughput, unmatched flexibility, constant low-latency and uncontended capacity, enabling customers to support multitude of segments, including Government, Fixed Data, Energy, Cloud & Mobility. O3b mPOWER enables us to enhance our services and tailor them to fit our customers’ needs in the most efficient way.
Q: What can you tell us about the O3b mPOWER technological ecosystem? Who are your key partners and how will this system impact market segments in a data-dependent world?
The uniqueness of O3b mPOWER lies in the ecosystem of partners. We do not only have satellite partners who will be helping us build and launch the satellites, we also have a very robust network of ground equipment and software partners.
Our ground equipment partners such as Gilat, Intellian, ALL.Space, and Comtech have been developing equipment that will allow us to simplify and optimise our networks. For example, our customers’ terminals and gateways have been designed and built to make sure that they are easy to install and are of low-maintenance.
Additionally, through our software partners, we are building an automation and service orchestration platform where network services can be effectively and easily managed by our customers and channel partners.
Q: What does O3b mPOWER mean for the MENA region?
One of the unique features of O3b mPOWER is the ability to enable our customers to land beams wherever they choose. This means that our MENA customers either in Telco or in government who are keen to have their own O3b mPOWER gateways can choose its location depending on their operations and connectivity usage – something which is highly valued by our customers in this region.
We recently signed a tripartite agreement between e& (Etisalat), Microsoft and SES in the MENA region, where e& will be hosting the co-located SES O3b mPOWER and Microsoft ground station to facilitate connectivity to the Cloud so that customers can optimise their global business operations and accelerate their digitalisation plans while unlocking more value for their businesses.
Q: What other revolutionary plans do you have in store for the upcoming years?
For the upcoming years, we will continue to develop our offerings by tailoring and enhancing our products and services jointly with our customers to meet their growing and changing needs. In addition to the six satellites, we will be launching initially, we will be additionally launching five more satellites to deliver enhanced throughput and performance.
We have also ordered another software-defined geostationary satellite, SES-26, for the region. The totally digital satellite will replace NSS-12 at 57 degrees East to extend content and connectivity services flexibly across Europe, ME, Africa and Asia and will support government communications solutions across the region.
Through our multi-orbit satellite services, we can enable our telco customers to meet the rapid growth in mobile data usage in their markets and support them in complying with their digital inclusion requirements At SES, we understand that our customers’ demands can vary, and we aim to fulfil their connectivity needs seamlessly with a flexible selection of services.