Arabsat-owned Hellas Sat has been a key player in Central and Eastern Europe’s DTH market for around 15 years.
Speaking exclusively to Broadband TV News at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam, Ilias Tsakalis, the company’s COO, said that it had provided services for Telekom Romania (previously known as Romtelecom) and Bulgaria’s Bulsatcom since 2005/6. Both had selected a small operator and both had succeeded.
However, he added that it is not enough to have a hot spot – Hellas Sat’s fleet employs the 39 degrees East orbital position and covers Europe, the Middle East and South Africa – to succeed. Indeed, an expensive hot spot can prove negative, as has been seen in Greece with Nova and Cosmote.
Tsakalis noted that there was a fundamental shift in CEE’s DTH market soon after 2010, when there were up to 50 platforms operating in the region. With few if any new launches, Hellas Sat decided that the only way for it to grow was to secure more platforms, especially small to medium-sized ones, as its customers. It had 5-6 targets and began to approach them.
This strategy bore fruit in September last year, when after talks with A1 it agreed to provide services to Mtel Bulgaria, which had previously employed Eutelsat.
Tsakalis said the CEE market is evolving, with consolidation in general and an ownership change at Telekom Romania on the horizon. In markets such as Greece, it would be a good step for existing mobile operators or telcos such as Vodafone and Wind to also launch DTH services, taking Cosmote as a successful example.