European Space Agency

Investigation of Advanced Satellite Applications Adapted to Development Needs in Insular and Mountainous Countries


Satellite technology, applications and services are potentially relevant for supporting development policies in countries including several remote and/or difficult to access areas, such as islands or mountain areas, where terrestrial communications deployment is complicated and costly. A typical example is the Balkans region and South East European/Mediterranean countries that include a large number of insular and remote mountainous small communities. In such territories and conditions, low cost and reliable satellite services/applications become a necessary tool for maintaining and improving well-being, economic activity and safety of the population.

The aim of the present study is to establish the specific needs of Greece, Balkans and South East European/Mediterranean countries in advanced broadcasting and telecommunication applications/services, and to identify how these could be efficiently served by satellite communications.

The Central and South East European region over which Hellas Sat operates, and where it has privileged relations via its main shareholder OTE, the incumbent Greek PTT Operator, is of particular importance presenting a number of characteristics offering opportunities for satellite services development. Satellite telecommunications have the opportunity to play a significant role in improving the current conditions.

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Although a number of multimedia applications and services are widely available in the region?triple play services are starting to be offered with varying degrees of maturity and penetration on a per country basis, the level of network digitisation in the majority of countries is inadequate for broadband and advanced services.

National strategy frameworks stipulate infrastructure development targets but there is a de-facto monopoly in the fixed terrestrial network in most countries, although markets have been liberalised. The transposition of EU regulatory framework is varying in the different countries and there exist a number of issues that need resolution. Broadband and advanced telecom services will be introduced where and when the infrastructure allows it, but timeframe is likely to be 2010 and onwards.

There is clearly an opportunity for satellite based services to accelerate market development (both with short-medium and longer term market potential), and prevent expansion of digital divide.


The project should enable a complete understanding of the key trends of the satcom market in the SSE countries:

  • Review existing and planned infrastructure, services and applications relating to Broadcast, Broadband, Mobile, Multimedia and Triple-play Services,

  • User demand assessments as well as of the satcom addressable market and estimation the number of satcom addressable users,

  • Segmentation of the satcom addressable markets in SE Europe,

  • Dimensioning of suitable satellite system architectures,

  • Possible value chains analysis and profit share breakdown between actors,

  • Business cases elaborating on the revenues, capital expenditures and operating expenses for the main actors in the value chain,

  • Assessment of deployment strategies that provide a cost effective solution that match take-up rates,

  • Propose a group of actions with a timeline to achieve them.
Ubiquitous access to broadband telecommunications services is expected to make a significant impact on many problems, allowing governments to become better connected with their citizens and enabling the delivery of services that can dramatically change the local quality of life. As a result, satcom have the opportunity to play a significant role in improving the current conditions. The outcome of the study points out this. The study is a tool in the hands of the governments in the region and will help them overcome any uncertainty in proceeding with funding of such projects that would help the spreading of satellite technology to bridge the digital divide.




The study is divided in five tasks with the following plan:

Task 1

  • Description of the current and planned telecommunication and multimedia applications and services in the area on per country basis,

  • Characterisation of the top players per country and service with the relative profit share,

  • Survey of the regulatory status per country,

  • User segmentation and identification of Critical Success Factors per segment,

  • Development of market mix scenarios.
Task 2

  • Satcom addressable market forecast,

  • Applications and services requirements.
Task 3

  • Address system architecture and forecast scenarios optimization.
Task 4

  • Business cases development,

  • Risk analysis,

  • Key technologies to be supported.
Task 5

  • Deployment scenarios,

  • Strategic recommendations.

Current status

The study activity is completed.

The satcom addressable market forecast scenarios created and studies are:

  • 'Dynamic or Growth' for optimistic growth model,

  • 'Balanced' for normal growth model,

  • 'Defensive' for worst growth model.
A detailed user segmentation provides users? profiling in terms of:

  • Likelihood of purchase,

  • Potential size of the segment, and

  • Price sensitivity.
Outcomes confirm that although the market size in SEE region is relatively small the potential for satcom services is important but the window of opportunity becomes narrower as established incumbent telecom operators extend the DSL networks. DVB-RCS technology lacks to compete especially in the residential sector.

Under all scenarios and users segments, Greece and Slovenia lead the race of progress. Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria follow but it be will a great change for these countries to grow to an acceptable degree and reach EU average. The rest of the countries are far behind and major restructuring is needed to progress.

Under both 'balanced' and 'defensive' case scenarios, the user demand can be accommodated on a conventional Ku/Ku satellite. HelllasSat 2 can be the candidate to carry the service and lease the capacity as today. The hypothesis is made that up to 6 transponders gradually increasing along a '3-year' period (adding one transponder per year). This approach gives time to validate the business model and select the appropriate development plan. However the growth potential is rather limited and it could be only an interim solution or gap-filler for the short-term.

It can be expected that later on the expected growth in the demand would require piggy back payloads or even dedicated space segment. For mid-term, it would make sense to look for a solution which maximizes the transponder loads and offer new features such as traffic flexibility and beam capability. It turns out that the best 'service-to-market' approach is to implement a piggy-back payload such as Enhanced AmerHis on a spacecraft with a short delivery scheme. This would allow a service ramp-up in a very short time scale. Upgrade a ground infrastructure remains now a 'straight-forward' exercise if the background experience on similar initiatives is taken into account.

However several issues have to be worked around which push to a dedicated satellite. In fact it is the most attractive package in terms of growth capability and suitability to service properly the business case.

Business wise, the role of the two main players of the value chain for the provision of satellite broadband service has been analyzed: Satellite Operator and Service Provider, with three different business models and in three different market scenarios, namely:

  • The Satellite Operator as bandwidth provider,

  • The Satellite Operator as Service Provider (Sub-case 2 - the Virtual Network Operator concept),

  • The Satellite Operator as end-to-end solution provider.

Status date

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 14:30