[Via Satellite 07-02-2015] CETel, a German-based communications solutions provider with offices in the United States and the UAE could look to expand its business both by spectrum type and geographic region in the near future. The company has been focused heavily on Africa and Middle East markets with C- and Ku-band, and recently extended its Germany teleport in partnership with Arabsat to provide an extended C-band service over Africa. While Africa and the Middle East are expected to remain primary focal points, a link-up with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) will soon bring the company into Latin America.
“The strategy for the current year is to further consolidate our presence in Africa and the Middle East. Those markets are currently the most important markets for satellite communications,” Guido Neumann, managing director of CETel, told Via Satellite. “With the launch of ABS 3A in March  and with an expected start of service in October, however, we are looking forward to extending our services to the South American continent. We believe that this is a logical next step in our existing service portfolio.”
The ABS 3A satellite carries 48 x 72 MHz C and Ku-band transponders, providing coverage over the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa at 3 degrees west. Neumann said the satellite would enable CETel to offer capacity with efficient pricing for this market, which has drawn considerable interest from the satellite industry in recent years.
Ka-band is also of greater interest to CETel as High Throughput Satellites (HTS) increase the amount of available capacity.
“We are continuously extending our infrastructure as customers’ demand is growing. Based on the individual requirements and investments, we set up new antennas,” Neumann explained. “Currently we are looking into extensions for Ka-band satellites and the introduction of services over HTS constellations, such as Intelsat’s EpicNG.”
CETel’s main providers of satellite capacity have been Arabsat and SES for many years. Last year the company also built a new 9.4-meter antenna pointed to Eutelsat 3B. Newtec, Comtech, iDirect and ND Satcom have provided technical equipment for CETel’s communications solutions as well. The company offers services in C-, Ku-, L- and Ka-band, and prides itself on being an independent solutions provider.
Neumann pointed to HTS solutions and new approaches such as O3b Network’s Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation as two important drivers of change in the satellite communications industry. Advances like these, he said, could help give satellite more of an edge.
“Satellite communications will have to prove why it is more than a niche for extreme environments. If we, as an industry, want to compete with terrestrial connectivity in the long run, we have to find unique selling points and offer services at competitive pricings. Higher capacity on a single satellite will help drop prices for satellite capacity and, thus, enables us to do this,” he said.
According to Neumann, increasing competition among satellite operators is swelling the amount of capacity in orbit — as is new technology — at the same time as an increase in demand for such services. He said CETel sees the most potential today in the oil, gas and mining verticals, and that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also rising in importance. NGOs are requiring bandwidth for development aid projects such as medical missions or schools, or peacekeeping missions. In energy and mining, climbing throughput needs are often met with satellite, as sites tend to remain beyond the reach of Africa’s growing fiber networks.
Regionally the Arab world could become a greater focus for CETel as well.
“In the Middle East we see positive developments. We hope that the development in relationships to the countries in this region helps to stabilize the region, leading to more business. The Middle East has a lot of potential for communications and connectivity services that is yet to be exploited,” said Neumann.
Earlier this year CETel sold Geolink Satellite Services to SpeedCast as part of a restructuring and consolidation processes in order to hone focus on its core competencies. The restructuring also forged new partner in Hong Kong where the company can pursue new business opportunities. When asked about new markets, Neumann said there are several prospects CETel is ready and willing to pursue should the opportunity arise.
“Nothing has stopped us in the past from working with customers from markets that were not in our focus. Our solutions and services are custom tailored to the individual requirements of our customers. That means we do not have a solution ‘off the shelf’ for different industries — instead, our experience shows that each and every client seeks to solve a different challenge. And we are willing to tackle this challenge, no matter what industry they are doing their business in,” he said.
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