Switch in the sky

SatPath looks to combine US-based R&D clout with cost-effective Taiwanese manufacturing to win business in the Middle East.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  November 25, 2004

|~|Milad-Jabbour---MD-SatPath_.jpg|~||~|US satellite hardware manufacturer SatPath has set up a regional subsidiary, SatPath Middle East, to exploit what it sees as growing opportunities for VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite providers. VSAT is a well-established technology, which has been in use in the region for 20 years, however falling prices, growing economic development and telecommunications liberalisation have encouraged SatPath that the market will grow rapidly in the coming years. SatPath ME is in the process of setting up offices in the UAE’s Jebel Ali free zone, which will take care of sales and marketing and open this month. The firm also has plans to open a hub in the region in March 2005, which would allow it to extend services to customers as well as deal with the hardware business. “We are looking at a March or April timeframe for the launch of our hub, which will probably be based in Dubai and will serve the Middle East and North Africa,” says Milad Jabbour, president, SatPath Middle East. “The potential of the market in the region is huge and we think it will grow by 500% in the next two or three years,” he adds. SatPath is aiming its solutions at a wide variety of customers from telcos to consumers in its two pronged strategy that will focus equally on providing a service and selling hardware. “We see telcos using our VSAT technology to fill in gaps in their service, such as in remote areas where it is too expensive to lay cable. At the same time manufactured products are a key part of our offering,” says Jabbour. The vendor claims that falling prices will play an important role in determining the success of VSAT technology and Jabbour is excited about SatPath’s potential to slash costs. “We are looking to leverage SatPath’s US-based R&D clout and combine it with cost-effective Taiwanese manufacturing to deliver a winning proposition. We can see a time when companies will build their own VSAT hubs, as the cost to do this is now in the region of US$500,000, when they cost US$1m not too long ago,” explains Jabbour. The firm also sees telco liberalisation as an opportunity, citing voice over internet protocol (VoIP) as an application that could broaden the VSAT user base. SatPath relies on the Multiple Channel Per Carrier (MCPC) standard, which it claims offers competitive advantages over its newer rival, the DVB-RCS standard. The vendor claims that MCPC offers a faster uplink connection and can also support a mesh topology, which makes the MCPC system more suited for certain applications, such as VoIP.||**||

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