Sviaz regular participant Gazprom Space Systems: Yamal 601 as embodiment of our development strategy

01 / 08 / 2018

Russian operator Gazprom Space Systems plans to launch the Yamal 601 telecommunications satellite in the beginning of 2019. Apart from traditional C-band payload, the satellite will be equipped with Ka-band payload. Probably, it is the factor that can change the Russian market of satellite broadband access. Deputy Director General for Marketing and International Business of Gazprom Space Systems Igor Kot tells Tele-Sputnik how the operator sees the market and how it plans to use the new satellite capacity and promote new business.

What is the current state of the Yamal 601 project?

The production of the Yamal 601 satellite is on schedule. According to the contract, the satellite is to be carried to Baikonur by the end of the year. The satellite is planned to be put into orbital position at 49 East in February. Yamal 601 is a replacement for the Yamal 202 satellite, besides it has a reasonable amount of resources for business development. Even now we are opening a campaign for future sales.

What is the difference between Yamal 601 and Yamal 202?

Yamal 601 is an embodiment of our development strategy which combines traditional satellite capacities operating within the same broadband ranges and capacities organized as high throughput satellites (HTS) with multibeam coverage zone and frequency reuse.

Is it what they call a hybrid satellite?

You could say that.

Do you start working with a Ka-band payload with which you have not worked before?

The Ka-band services is new business for us but we know satellite broadband access very well because we sell similar Ka-band services. In this market we perform two functions. Firstly, we are an operator that provides services to end customers connected with Gazprom one way or another. We, for example, provide the Internet access in workers settlements. Secondly, we provide satellite capacity to Russian VSAT operators. Today, not less than seven companies operate via our satellites. Using our resources and technology platform, they provide services to clients.

Should you choose a technology to work with the Ka-band frequency?

Yes, we should. We have already announced the competition for a multiservice platform for this project with participation of all leading developers. In the end of June 2018 we plan to have the final results and start purchasing and building of hubs.

How many hubs will Yamal 601 have for Ka-band?

As far as feed lines of the new satellite use duplication of frequencies, we need two base stations. One of them will serve beams aimed at the European part of Russia. We build this teleport in Pereslavl-Zalessky, on the territory of our backup satellite control center. There is more favorable electromagnetic environment for Ka-band there than in the Moscow region. We make the second hub to serve the eastern part of the beams near Novosibirsk as agreed with the Russian TV and Broadcasting Network on their site.

Have you already started construction?

We have identified the provider of earth stations and expect deliveries of the necessary equipment. We hope the earth segment will be fully prepared by the launch of the satellite.

Would I be right in thinking that delivery of equipment for base satellite stations is essentially independent of the service provision technology?

Thats true, to a large extent. That is why we order the delivery of earth stations for teleports and multiservice platform for network operation control separately.

Will you work with providers according to VNO?

Yes, we will. Using VNO we would like to realize about three fourth of transmission capacity of Ka-band. The other 25% will be used to provide services to end customers on the Gazprom market where we will operate independently.

Does the Gazprom market mean workers settlements?

It means workers settlements as well as small businesses, administration, institutions and population of towns and other settlements in the regions where Gazprom does business. It is also technology flows to control pipelines, for example, block valve stations what is now called M2M, the Internet of Things, or Industrial Internet of things.

What will your price policy be within Ka-band?

The business plan means a competitive price that will naturally be slightly below those existing in the market. But these prices, under our estimated growth dynamics of subscriber base, will secure our profit and in such circumstances our business plan is correct. In addition to the price we will try to provide the market with other competitive advantages of our service.

Can we expect a price fall?

We believe that if the prices fall, it would have a pulling effect on the growth in subscriber base and increase in traffic consumption. It is obviously that you cannot do business with low prices and a limited number of subscribers.

Do you plan to develop Ka-band at 90 East?

Yes, we have got an idea not to dwell on Yamal 601 since it does not cover the whole Russian territory. The system is commercial that is why we focus on densely populated regions. Now we consider the possibility of adding Ka-band capacity into position at 90 East in order to expand the coverage region of the system to the east. For this purpose we carry out the system elaboration of the promising satellite into this position.

Is any development possible within C-band on Yamal 601?

At Yamal 601 we use the whole frequency resource that belongs to us in this orbital position. Its coverage area almost covers the area of Yamal 202. All current customers will painlessly switch to a new vehicle but at the same time will obtain the bonus: the signal strength will be a couple of decile more on the new satellite. It will enable users to apply more effective techniques of modulation and coding and use the bandwidth in a more cost-effective way.