Nigeria to launch two new Communication Satellites

By Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja


Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, NigComSat has announced plans to launch two new satellites, NigComSat-2 by 2023 and NigComSat-3 by 2025.

The two satellites will replace NigComSat 1R expected to expire in 2026.

The Managing Director, Dr. Abimbola Alale disclosed this  at the 2021 edition of the NIGCOMSAT Stakeholders Forum in Lagos, South West Nigeria.

Speaking Alade said “l am pleased to inform stakeholders of our desire to acquire more satellites between now and 2025 with the NigComSat-2 (Hight Throughput Satellite) due for launch in 2023 while NigComSat-3 will be launched in 2025,”

She added that “This will not only inspire confidence in our customers and channel partners but will also place NIGCOMSAT Ltd in the front line of communication satellite operators with fleet of satellites in the orbit.”

She revealed that the NigComSat-2 project is still in its preliminary phase as only the Request for Proposals (RFP) has been sent out.

NigComSat-2, a High throughput satellite (HTS) with a total throughput of 300 Gbps, will be a launched as a public-private partnership (PPP).

The satellite will also include triband spacecraft – C band for Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C) systems to provide the most vital telecommunication link between a satellite and ground station; Ka-band; and Ku-band.

The orbital slot for the NigComSat-2 will either be 9.5 degrees west or 16 degrees west, based on the orbital filling with International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

She also added that the communication satellite will have several applications spanning direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting service, telemedicine, Tele-education, broadband services and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

She highlighted NIGCOMSAT recent activities, including actions taken to reposition the company for better service delivery, training of 600 youth in 12 states of the federation on VSAT and TVRO installations skills.

According to Dr Alale, “Satellite communication is a technology associated with rapid changes, hence, NIGCOMAT continues to build capacity that matches global trends and requirements.”

She acknowledged the strategic vision of the Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, towards building a digital Nigeria and repositioning the Departments and Agencies under his supervision, to be among the major contributors to the nation’s economy.

Dr. Alade said, “Last year, NIGCOMSAT with the support of some of the stakeholders sponsored four (4) teams (Astromania, Floews, Future Generations, and Pyloops) to compete in the ActInSpace® international innovation contest of 100 cities across 5 continents.

“Nigeria however won the audience award, which was based on the popularity of the video created by Team Astromania to provide information about their solution.

Quality of service and customers’ experience are very important in service delivery. NIGCOMSAT has acquired the latest DIALOG HUB with 5IF for the satellite broadband Ka services as well as building a stronger relationship with our channel partners. Our business processes are seamless in accordance with International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification”.

The MD said that, NIGCOMSAT, in its bid to achieve its ambition as the be the leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa, obtained approval early 2020 to form two subsidiary companies (SUBCOs) the Satellite Infrastructure Company SIC to provide satellite upstream services such as Transponder leasing, and In-Orbit-(IOT) services, Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services etc. & the Satellite Broadcasting and Broadband Company (SBBC) to provide satellite downstream services such as broadband internet services, Broadcasting (DTH) services etc.

“The SUBCOs were formed to carryout commercial businesses on behalf of NIGCOMSAT with strategic partners and expand its business operations and in the information & communications technology space, NIGCOMSAT realizes the need to strategically position its subsidiaries for potential opportunities and risks, put in place operational structures to facilitate its business aspirations”.

She disclosed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has given the company a set of KPIs that are linked to the development of a strategic document which identifies the key market opportunities and risks in the Nigerian market as well as to define the SUBCO’s operational framework

Dr. Alade further  said, the Special Project Office of NIGCOMSAT Ltd has successfully deployed modest and ubiquitous services to the health sector by providing an e- platform for automation of work process at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) offices across the country. Pictures below:

“Also last year, NIGCOMSAT Ltd provided satellite connectivity services via NigComSat-1R for the live broadcast of the virtual commissioning of the Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Another milestone was achievement late last year, to be precise, in September 2020. Our collaboration with Thales Alenia Space of France, and Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) to provide a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) using NigComSat-1R Navigational services for the first time over Africa and Indian Ocean.

The demonstration of real SBAS flight in Lome (Togo) using fixed wing Aircraft and Duoala (Cameroun), using Rotor Aircraft. Demonstration was also done in Brazzaville (Congo)”, she said.

Also speaking, the Company Secretary Alma Okpalefe, , gave an introduction of NIGCOMSAT, its mandate, structure and journey so far; whilst, Engr Abdulraheem Adajah, general manager, Satellite Applications spoke on “Satellite Business New Opportunities/Frontiers (NIGCOMSAT Products and Services).”

In a goodwill message, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, represented by Engineer Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, they are happy working with NIGCOMSAT for a successful deployment of 5G services in Nigeria.

Recall that NCC and NIGCOMSAT had in May this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to leverage C-Band Spectrum for 5G services.

Meanwhile, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, emphasised the importance of the Forum due to the role of NIGCOMSAT in the nation’s digital economy.

He however, warned against non-remittance of payments for services rendered to sister agencies. This, he said should be discouraged so that the company does not go moribund.

Adebayo said, “NIGCOMSAT is important in 5G deployment especially on the issue of last mile. It has quality service and should be given every support it needs to succeed.

“We cannot allow NIGCOMSAT to go the way of NITEL and NEPA (now defunct). Government agencies should pay for services rendered. When people owe you don’t be nice ‘politically’, disconnect them until they pay you. That is how NIGCOMSAT will survive”, he added.

The Forum also hosted panel discussions on various topics as they concern the business of satellite, among other areas.



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