Thai satellite provider Shin Satellite is in talks with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) about lowering the cost of launching its new satellite Thaicom 5. Shin currently pays around 15.5% of its annual revenues to the government, but the NTC is looking to replace the tariff with a standardised licence fee and hopes to introduce the required legislation before the launch of Thaicom 5 in mid-2006.
Meanwhile, Shin inaugurated a new domestic gateway for its Thaicom 4 satellite this week, and sealed a deal to lease bandwidth to incumbent TOT Corp for the launch of commercial broadband services. The satellite, known as iPSTAR, was launched in August 2005 and is widely regarded as the company’s most ambitious yet. It has capacity for 300,000 users in Thailand and Shin expects to fill half that by the end of this year. It also provides capacity for high speed broadband services to customers across a further 13 Asia-Pacific countries. Alongside its Thai gateway, iPSTAR plans to open links in Vietnam, Burma, Australia and New Zealand this year, and is currently in negotiations with China and India.