Satellites Foster Ground ConnectivityFri, 12/01/2017 - 10:59
Technology has the power to disrupt in the most unexpected ways. Two decades after the world was transformed by the emergence of the internet, Mexico is getting ready to enjoy the changes that national, widespread access will create. What once seemed far-fetched – connecting to the internet from the innermost locations of the country – is now a realistic goal, thanks to the magic of satellites and technology.
Alejandro Athie, Business Development Director of StarGo, Mexico, believes the key to growth lies in the heavens. His company is among those going forward with the implementation of telecommunications via satellite. “Five years ago, we had between 1,200 and 1,500 clients connected. Today, we have around 9,000 clients connected via satellite,” he says.
The hunt for experience and market share to complement its technology led StarGo to Pegaso Banda Ancha, a former division of Grupo Pegaso, in 2016. “We had the experience and the commercial reach and StarGo had the technology, so they bought us and now we are part of the StarGroup,” says Athie. “I think it is an interesting combination. StarGo has also acquired Ka band frequency, which will allow us to provide satellite internet with wider broadband and in a more economical manner.”
Satellite services are by far more expensive than those provided by traditional carriers but Athie says the implementation of the Ka spectrum prices (a frequency that allows for higher bandwith communication with reduced costs) will allow StarGo to compete to an extent with land carriers. “Our service is still more expensive than land services. However, there are higher end packages where traditional carriers have become way to expensive and relatively inefficient. We believe that the bounties of the Ka spectrum will permit us to compete in this particular segment.”
While the company has high expectations for the Ka band and its impact on market share, its successful market penetration until now is in part thanks to the telecommunications projects fostered by the current federal administration. “Five years ago, we started focusing on providing services to corporate and governmental institutions,” says Athie. “Our participation in the Bicentennial Project allowed us to provide internet connection to 5,062 remote locations in the country.”
The Bicentennial Project is embedded in the federal government’s Mexico Connected strategy, which aims to provide universal access to broadcasting and telecommunications services. This is achieved through the implementation of broadband internet services for difficultto-reach locations. In 2011, the government connected a total of 6,960 public locations to the internet. By the end of 2015, this number had jumped to over 101,000 locations. At sites that accommodated installation, the service has worked without fail. “By contract, StarGo assures 99.5 percent of service availability,” says Athie. This means that severe climate conditions are no longer an impediment to receiving the service.
A key advantage is also network security. “When it comes to telecom services, clients must invest heavily on security equipment and to encrypt their information to protect themselves from hackers. However, when it comes to satellite services, clients do not have to make any other investment on security equipment,” says Athie. “The data combination needed to access the satellite is of great magnitude and provides every customer with an encryption process that makes additional security measures unnecessary.”
Mexico’s telecoms industry has grown by leaps and bounds and the country is overcoming its past constraints in terms of technology. “The real challenges are convincing clients to try our services, convincing them that we offer a solid technology and reaching their target price,” says Athie. StarGo is confident that its new satellite technology will allow the company to increase its market share in the next two years. “We believe our market share in the satellite internet market ranges between 25-28 percent. But the merger of StarGo and Pegaso Banda Ancha gives us the possibility to more than double our number of users,” says Athie.
“The satellite market will offer the country new opportunities. Satellites know no barriers and can cross any frontier.”