MEASAT Global has signed a deal with Astrium SAS for the procurement of the MEASAT-3b satellite, which will cater to existing customers and enable it to expand into new markets across Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

The satellite, which is due to be launched at the end of 2013, will have a contractual life of 15 years. The programme is expected to cost about RM1 billion.

Based on the Eurostar E3000 platform, MEASAT-3b will provide an additional 48 Ku-Band transponders to the 91.5E orbital location.

Designed to operate in tandem with the MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a spacecraft, the new satellite will provide high powered Ku-Band capacity for direct-to-home (DTH) and broadband VSAT services.

 It has also been designed to support a fourth market.

MEASAT's chairman, Datuk Umar Abu, said: "By more than doubling our Ku-Band capacity at 91.5E, MEASAT-3b will allow the group to continue to meet the increasing requirements of our DTH and telecommunication customers in Malaysia and across the region.

"It will add to our existing fleet, creating the region's most robust satellite network, able to provide the highest levels of service assurance to customers."

MEASAT currently supports five DTH platforms across Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Brunei, providing pay-TV services to more than 10 million households.