21 April 2021 (MY) – SES, leading global satellite-enabled content connectivity solutions provider, unveiled its next-generation O3b mPOWER satellite constellation to Malaysian ICT industry professionals at an online webinar today. The webinar, titled “Satellite Communications and the Next Stage of Digital Transformation in Malaysia,” featured expert panel speakers from SES, satellite market research agency Northern Sky Research (NSR), as well as the Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA). The webinar provided attendees from across the telecommunications, IT and tech sectors with an introduction to satellite and space technology, use cases for Malaysian industries, satellite’s role in bridging the digital divide, as well as the future of Malaysia’s space programme and space industry.
The upcoming O3b mPOWER constellation builds on the success of SES’s existing O3b constellation, which has been providing high-speed, low-latency broadband internet to customers in over 50 countries since 2014. In Asia-Pacific, the O3b constellation enabled the rollout of 3G and 4G mobile networks in countries such as the Cook Islands, Timor Leste and Pakistan. The constellation is also powering connectivity services on the Dream Cruises fleet, a member of Genting Cruise Lines. Together with our partners, SES provides essential broadband connectivity services to ships, mining sites and offshore oil rigs.
The next-generation O3b mPOWER greatly increases the bandwidth of each O3b satellite, giving them the scalability to beam anything from 50 megabits to multiple Gigabits per second while multiple spot beams can be combined to provide 100% coverage to Malaysia. The fully automated, steerable spot beams provide additional agility to connect customers from virtually anywhere — on land, in the air and at sea. Moreover, its position along the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) 8,000 km above the earth ensures fibre-equivalent low latency, while only needing as few as six satellites for virtually global coverage.
The launch of the new satellite constellation comes amid public sector initiatives aimed at boosting Malaysia’s digital infrastructure and its digital economy. As part of its MyDIGITAL initiative, the Malaysian government recently announced a RM 70 billion investment in digitalisation efforts, as well as efforts to provide internet access to 100% of households nationwide, increase public sector cloud adoption, 5G mobile network rollout and grow the digital economy to 22.6% of GDP, among others.
Malaysia stands as one of the most digitally mature economies in Southeast Asia, with the digital economy contributing up to one-fifth (18%) of the national GDP, good internet penetration (88.7%3) and a thriving ICT sector. Yet the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to remote working and online learning has highlighted gaps in the country’s digital divide. The increase in internet traffic is also straining the existing network infrastructure, thereby further emphasizing the importance of network resilience.
“Satellites, with their unparalleled reach and ability to be deployed rapidly, are well-placed to complement existing terrestrial networks, fibre broadband and cable links to not only deliver last-mile connectivity to remote, underserved areas, but also boost network strength and resilience. This is especially important given the criticality of internet connectivity in today’s increasingly competitive digital economy,” said Harsh Verma, Sales Director, Asia for Fixed Data at SES. “I am honoured to speak alongside distinguished panelists Tuan Haji Azlikamil
Napiah, Director General of Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA) as well as Jose del Rosario, Research Director, Northern Sky Research (NSR) and to be able to introduce our satelliteenabled content connectivity solutions to audiences in Malaysia.”
The first batch of three O3b mPOWER satellites will be launched in Q3 2021, followed by another three in early 2022. The constellation will be operational and provide global coverage as of Q3 2022 even as five more satellites are scheduled for launch from H2 2022 onwards.