Sat glut in Arab skies

Clutter in space to cause price war

CAIRO — With a glut of satellite transponder space available in the crowded Mideastern skies, the region looks set for a cutthroat price war.

Arabic channels already have the multinational Arabsat as well as Eutelsat and Intelsat to choose from, and in late April these will be joined by Egypt’s Nilesat, which will have 72 transponders available for rental.

The $168 million Nilesat will be operated by the public sector Egyptian Radio and Television Union.

And another bird is planned for lift-off later this year — from the UAE’s telecom corporation, Etisalat, called Emarsat.

“With all that transponder space up there, I don’t see how a price war can be avoided,” says Raymond Iskandar, chairman of Laser-Egypt, a major regional distrib of foreign TV product.

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