O3b mPOWER Constellation; Credit: SES

Luxembourg satellite company SES and the Republican Center for Space Communications (RCSC), a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore service agreements for satellite-enabled, high-speed connectivity services using SES’s O3b mPOWER communications system to accelerate the Digital Kazakhstan project.

Under this MoU, RCSC will explore utilising SES’s next-generation, high-performance and low-latency constellation, which is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2021. Located 8,000km away from the Earth’s surface in a medium earth orbit (MEO), the fully-funded O3b mPOWER system will provide global coverage with six satellites and will ramp capacity with its current plan of eleven satellites. The system is capable of delivering dedicated services at multiple gigabits per second with unprecedented flexibility and resiliency, ensuring constant, efficient usage of bandwidth.

The parties will also explore creating an in-country gateway for O3b mPOWER. SES has committed itself to knowledge transfer programmes to advance the digital transformation process of enterprise and government sectors in Kazakhstan. The satellite provider also established a local presence in Kazakhstan last year and will be making a direct in-country investment.

O3b mPOWER is built upon the success of SES’s current generation of O3b system, which has been operational since 2014. Today, the O3b system remains the only commercially proven non-geostationary satellite (NGSO) constellation preferred by leading telco and mobile operators, governments, maritime, mining, oil and gas companies due to the robust ground infrastructure developed by SES and its technology partners. In addition, SES has conducted a demonstration on the current O3b constellation in Saryagash in central Kazakhstan where it provided 730 megabits per second to a local mobile tower, enabling the delivery of carrier-grade low-latency Wi-Fi services in the region.

RCSC and SES will also look into using O3b mPOWER services for other Central Asian countries with ubiquitous broadband access to the Internet.

Malik Zhuiriktayev, Chairman of the Board of JSC "RCSC", explained: “Today, the market for satellite communications services is highly competitive as the needs of operators and end users grow on a daily basis. An increase in channel throughput and high-quality requirements calls for an introduction of new services, and we cannot disregard the opportunities that new satellite technologies will deliver. Therefore, we are looking into an international cooperation using next-generation global high-speed, low-latency non-geostationary satellites (NGSO) systems".

JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks, added: “In the digital era, high-speed connectivity and reliable network access is of utmost importance to empower business and communities – especially remote ones. At SES, we take pride in leveraging our unparalleled reach and proven technology to contribute to the digital transformation of Kazakhstan through cloud-enabled satellite communications. We are pleased to support RCSC with our services and proven NGSO experience as they continue to innovate and expand their data services in Kazakhstan, and we look forward to more collaborations with other companies in the country".