Intelsat lands licence for the Philippines

  • Intelsat has been granted a satellite service providers and operators licence 
  • It allows Intelsat’s local partners to expand cellular and internet services to remote areas across the country’s 7,600 islands
  • Intelsat aims to improve internet resilience in the Philippines, which currently ranks seventh out of 11 in South-east Asia

In a significant development for connectivity in South-east Asia, Intelsat, the operator of one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial networks, has become the first foreign geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite services provider licensed to operate in the Philippines. 

The milestone licence, which was granted by the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), paves the way for Intelsat to empower its local partners to expand cellular and internet access to even the most remote parts of the archipelago nation.

With over 110 million citizens spread across more than 7,600 islands, the Philippines faces immense challenges in extending communications services to its entire population. Large gaps remain in the nationwide coverage of terrestrial networks. A recent study ranked the Philippines seventh out of 11 countries in South-east Asia for internet resilience.

According to the Internet Society Pulse, internet resilience in the Philippines is characterised by a mixed performance, with an internet penetration rate of around 53%, placing it below the regional average of 71%. Despite this, the retail ISP market is notably diverse, enhancing user choice and resilience. The internet exchange point (IXP) marketplace is also varied, with multiple operators contributing to local connectivity. However, the adoption of crucial security measures, such as domain name system security extensions (DNSSEC) remains low, and the country lags in IPv6 adoption compared to its regional peers.

The newly secured satellite service provider and operator (SSPO) licence allows Intelsat to directly provision satellite connectivity to local mobile and fixed line operators across the country. This will enable 4G expansion beyond the reach of current terrestrial infrastructure, bring internet to far-flung villages and communities, and add resiliency to existing fibre and microwave networks.

“We are dedicated to empowering a range of customers across the MNO [mobile network operator], enterprise and ISP segments by addressing their mission-critical requirements, offering service-level guarantees, and delivering comprehensive end-to-end integration and operational support, all customised to suit their distinctive and demanding operating landscapes,” said Gaurav Kharod, regional vice president of Asia Pacific sales at Intelsat.

With this partnership, Philippine telcos and service providers can hope to rapidly and cost effectively scale up their networks in underserved regions and provide affordable, reliable connectivity to businesses and consumers. 

- Joana Bagano, Contributing Editor, TelecomTV

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