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Yahsat And SES Astra Start Middle East Satellite Company

’Abu Dhabi-based YahLive’ to offer Direct-to-Home TV capacity to Middle East, Northern Africa and South West Asia

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) announced today that it has entered into a partnership with European satellite operator SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) to create a new company operating under the brand name YahLive that will offer Direct-to-Home (DTH) television capacity and services to more than two dozen countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South West Asian region.

YahLive will offer DTH satellite services to free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters in this region. It will own and commercialise 23 BSS-transponders on the Yahsat 1A spacecraft to be positioned at the 52.5 degrees East orbital position and operating in the Ku-band frequency. The satellite, procured from a consortium of EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space, is currently under construction and is scheduled to be launched by the fourth quarter of 2010.

“We are very pleased to announce this strategic partnership with one of the world’s leading satellite broadcasting operators. SES ASTRA’s significant experience in this sector will fast track our ability to create a new TV hotspot over the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region,” said Jassem Al Zaabi, Yahsat’s Chief Executive Officer. “This alliance also confirms the satellite industry’s conviction that Yahsat is the partner of choice in the region. As a new player in the broadcasting sector, we believe this partnership will enable Yahsat to make a very strong entry into the market.”

“Creating a company with Yahsat opens a very important and dynamic new market for us, where we can leverage our core DTH competences and join forces with a strong player in the region,” said Ferdinand Kayser, Chief Executive Officer of SES ASTRA. “This partnership will establish a major business hub for SES ASTRA in the Middle East, and will add a new dimension to the existing strong regional presence of SES through the satellite operator SES NEW SKIES and the system integrator ND SatCom. The region is a market with significant growth potential as the fill rate of the Ku-band capacity is estimated at 90 percent, while demand is expected to grow faster than supply. We are very pleased to work with Yahsat to tap these markets and to contribute our knowledge in deploying satellite capacity as well as a large range of specialised ground and broadcasting services.”

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