Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of commercial satellite services, has announced a $250m joint venture with a South African investor group led by Convergence Partners that is chaired by Andile Ngcaba, and whose goal is to deliver a uniquely African solution for the satellite capacity constraints facing the region via an innovative partnership and funding package.
To be called Intelsat New dawn, the satellite will carry a payload optimised to deliver wireless, broadband and media applications to the continent and is expected to enter service in late 2010 or early 2011. It will be operated and marketed as part of Intelsat’s global fleet and joins 25 other Intelsat satellites that service Africa.
Pre-launch commitments have already been received from Gateway Communications, Gilat Satcom and Vodacom; and pre-orders for satellite capacity, or backlog, currently totals more than $300m, covering up to 15 years of service on the satellite. Convergence Partners also has several other ICT interests/investment including Seacom, one of the African undersea cable projects; Dimension Data; Gemalto, a provider of smartcard technology; Integrat, a wireless applications services provider; and SkillPod Media, an online casual gaming company.