Telenor seeks to develop 4 West slot

10.56 Europe/London, November 25, 2011 By Julian Clover

Cato Halsaa, CEO of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, has told Broadband TV News that the operator plans to further exploit the rights to 40 frequencies held at four degrees West.

In June, Telenor moved its Thor 3 satellite to the position already occupied by the Amos satellite system, following the completion of the transfer of traffic to the new Thor 6 satellite at Telenor’s well-established position at one degree West.
“We had an opportunity and we grabbed the opportunity to secure the rights at four West and we had a satellite that fitted the bill, so we shifted Thor 3 rather than lease it to others as we had with Thor 2,” said Halsaa.
Thor 3 is currently running in inclined orbit, meaning that the satellite can gain an additional year’s life for every month that there is no station keeping undertaken. It is expected to give Thor 3 an additional lifetime of between six and ten years. However, DTH services cannot operate from a satellite in inclined orbit.
Subsequently Thor 3 has been providing internet services into the Middle East, but with four West already being used by operators including Deutsche Telekom to provide DTH services into Central & East Europe, Telenor has identified an area for expansion. In recent years, with clients including UPC Direct and Digi TV, the CEE region has proved fertile ground for development in the region at One West.
“The key here is that we have 40 channels [frequencies] of DTH coverage from this position and we are currently evaluating our options on how we can make use of this capacity. We are looking at the kind of business that we can do there and of course if you want to do DTH, you need another satellite, and there are many opportunities.”
Halsaa said the use of the four West frequencies had created a lot of interest from other satellite operators. However, the immediate priority is with the preparations for the new Thor 7 satellite. “We have started the planning work, but we are no where near a decision on what to do. With Thor 3 in place we can afford to bide our time”.
Thor 7 is scheduled to be launched into geostationary transfer orbit in Q4 2013 on an Ariane 5 launcher from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.