The expansion of Thaicom into the space economy is a part of a larger movement in Thailand to upgrade infrastructure and digitize the country. Thaicom has begun a new era with its acquisition of orbital slots in the January geostationary satellite auction, its investigation of potential new businesses involving low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, and its collaboration with others to advance space technology. The government of Thailand recognizes the potential of the space industry and is working to expand Thai participation in the industry.
Thailand’s National Space Policy, set to take effect in 2020, aims to make the country a center for space-related technology and services in Southeast Asia.
The policy seeks to enhance the space industry by investing in its infrastructure, R&D, and people.
Thaicom is in an ideal position to aid in the expansion of Thailand’s space capabilities. The business has worked with satellites for years and has forged partnerships with other space technology firms in the area.
A growing number of satellite operators and space technology companies are looking to diversify their offerings beyond just satellite communication and broadcasting, and Thaicom is just the latest example. Projections indicate that, thanks to developing technologies and increasing demand, the space economy will grow rapidly over the next few years.
Approximately $434 million in U.S. dollars will be spent on the project, which includes license fees of 797 million baht for orbital slots at 119.5°E, 120°E, and 78.5°E, the construction of three satellites at 119.5°E, and other miscellaneous costs.
When the Thaicom 4 satellite dies, the company will no longer be able to provide its services to its customers unless satellite construction is completed in time.
As a result, STI was given permission to proceed with the construction of the 119.5°E satellites ahead of the other slots by the board.
Two small geostationary satellites, each with a capacity of 10 gigabits per second, will be developed in the first stage of satellite development (Gbps).
The Thaicom 4 satellite’s engineering lifetime ends at the end of 2024, so these new satellites are meant to fill the void that will be left behind.
From 2025 until 2032, the pair of miniature satellites will do their job. The price tag on each satellite is a hefty $2.18 billion.
According to Mr. Patompob, Thaicom plans to spend an additional 2.1 billion baht on traffic management via a gateway station and other satellite-related costs.
The second part of the plan involves the expenditure of 7.9 billion baht on the construction of the large geostationary satellite, which is expected to go into operation in the third quarter of 2027 and remain operational for the remaining 15.5 years of the license.
The capacity of this larger satellite is expected to be 100 Gbps, or ten times that of the two smaller satellites.
This larger geo-satellite, he said, will be the most recent iteration of broadband satellites, also known as software-defined satellites (SDS).
The Asia-Pacific region, where both public and private sectors are heavily investing in space-related technologies and services, is seen as a major contributor to this expansion.
Thaicom’s foray into the space economy positions the company to benefit from this expansion and further establish its position as a frontrunner in the Thai space industry.
Thaicom’s efforts to diversify its offerings beyond satellite communication and broadcasting have thus far proven fruitful.
The high demand for the firm’s satellite services led to an 8 percent increase in revenue in 2021.
This bold step by Thaicom exemplifies the growing significance of the space sector in the Asia-Pacific region. Thaicom is well-positioned to take advantage of this new market and contribute to the development of the regional space industry. It is capable of doing so because of its expertise, resources, and dedication to new ideas.