Vietnam PM Approves Plan To Launch Second Telecom Satellite By 2012

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HANOI -(Dow Jones)- Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has agreed in principle to launch the country's second telecommunications satellite by 2012, the government said Monday in a statement.

The government said Dung has assigned the state-run Vietnam Posts and Telecoms Group to be the sole investor of the satellite called Vinasat-2.

It said the satellite will cost between $290 million and $350 million.

"The new satellite is aimed at boosting the development of the country's telecom market," the government said.

Vietnam launched its first satellite from a space port in South America in April 2008.

The $300 million Vinasat-1, built by U.S. firm Lockheed Martin, is expected to have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years.

Vinasat-1 provides data and broadcast coverage to Southeast Asia, eastern China, India, North Korea, Japan, Australia and Hawaii and is expected to be fully operational this year.

The satellite is now operating at 70% of its capacity, with the main clients being Vietnam Television, Voice of Vietnam Radio, oil companies, telecom firms Viettel and Gtel and ministries, the government said Reply With Quote