- By Pooky, Thai Intel’s economics journalist
According to Steven Cambe, a UK telecom analyst visiting Thailand, Thailand’s telecom sector is just so bad.
One the surface, everyone talks about how countries like Laos and Cambodia are going 4G and Thailand is just struggling with 3G.
But beneath that surface result, is a sector in “total chaos,” says Steven.
“To accuse foreign telecom operators in Thailand of gathering sensitive information for foreign governments is just so absurd, but what is more absurd, is that many in Thailand believes it,” says Steven.
Tracing back Thailand, it had not always been that way. Practically overnight, scarcity of fixed line residential and business phones, was replaced with mobile phone-coming just about the time mobile phone exploded globally.
Then Thailand was so proud, of having a private sector, shooting satellites into orbit-and serving global customers.
Today, Thai satellite orbiting position is at risks, giant telecom firms battle each other in court, regulatory structure total ineffective, internet massively blocked and censored, for example.
“I can not believe it, the Thais are arguing about telecom-nationalism when they should be arguing about how to keep their telecom sector at pace with the rest of the region….If nationalism means top-of-the-line telecom sector, I would be for nationalism, but so far, it is keeping Thailand a backward country,” said Steven.
Thailand’s telecom crisis began when Taksin, who built a Thai telecom empire, searched for Thai buyers for his firm as he entered politics-but found no Thai buyers-and thus sold his empire to Temasek, the Singaporean sovereign fund. That selling, sparked a nationalist outraged as Thailand being sold to foreigners.
Since then, the Thai telecom sector became a nationalism story.
“It must get its act together now, no matter at what cost…Just look at Banking and Insurance in Thailand, they are leading the region and there is very little nationalism there…I do not buy the rationale that telecom is a national security issue…..It is a connecting-people issue,” said Steven.
What is new about Thailand?
The following is from Intelsat and other news source:
Intelsat aims for expansion in Asia-Pacific with a $1.3bn satellite launche over the next 18 months.
Intelsat has provided further details with respect to its current fleet investment plan, which is expected to result in a significant improvement in the types and quantities of satellite capacity available to media, networking and government customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Intelsat expects to launch 11 satellites between now and the end of 2012, five of which will provide new or replacement capacity in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific build includes the acceleration of replacement satellites for two core roles and one new satellite that increases capacity for media and networking customers and addresses defense-related opportunities in the region.
The Intelsat 17 satellite, to be located at 66 degrees E, will provide higher-performing capacity across Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Asia, as well as expand Intelsat’s C-band video distribution community in the Indian Ocean region. The Intelsat 17 satellite will replace the Intelsat 702 satellite.
The Intelsat 18 satellite, to be located at 180 degrees E, will provide continuity and enhanced performance in C- and Ku-band for network, voice and video services to the Pacific Islands and offer connectivity to the Western United States. The Intelsat 18 satellite will replace the Intelsat 701 satellite.
The Intelsat 19 satellite, to be located at 166 degrees E, will feature increased Ku-band capacity optimized for Direct-to-Home (DTH) and network services applications in Australia.
The satellite’s C-band capacity will provide enhanced performance capacity for distribution of international video content throughout Asia-Pacific with reach to the Western United States. The Ku-band payload will also support demand for mobility and enterprise network applications across the region. The Intelsat 19 satellite will replace the Intelsat 8 satellite.
The Intelsat 20 satellite will replace the Intelsat 10 and Intelsat 7 satellites, which are co-located at 68.5 degrees E, one of the most successful cable distribution neighborhoods serving the Asia-Pacific region. This satellite will provide regional and international programmers with ideal C-band penetration of the South Asian cable communities.
The Intelsat 20 satellite also will carry a Ku-band payload, which will provide services into Asia, Africa and the Middle East for enterprise networks and DTH services.
Intelsat intends to increase its C- and Ku-band capacity in the region with the launch of the Intelsat 22 satellite, to be located at 72 degrees E, addressing the growing opportunities for enterprise networks, mobility and defense-related applications. In April, Intelsat announced that the Australian Defence Force agreed to purchase a specialized UHF communications payload aboard the Intelsat 22 satellite to provide communications for its military.
In addition to the fleet program, Intelsat continues to invest in its ground network infrastructure, expanding customer access to Intelsat’s Asia-Pacific assets.
An upgrade at Intelsat’s Paumalu Teleport in Hawaii improved fiber diversity and upgraded antenna facilities to expand accessibility and redundancy on Intelsat’s Pacific Ocean satellites, enhancing services for media customers. Intelsat also expanded its GlobalConnex Network Broadband Managed services, adding hubs at KT Corporation‘s teleport facilities in South Korea.
“Intelsat has served the Asia-Pacific region for more than four decades, and the acceleration and expansion of our investments with respect to these satellites and our ground network reflect our commitment to providing our customers with a growth path that supports their strategic objectives,” said David Ball, Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific.
“With globalization of content, the increasing importance of HD programming, further deployment of enterprise and broadband services and mobile applications, and continuing popularity of DTH television services, Intelsat will have the connectivity and capacity to serve its customers in the region and as they distribute their content around the globe.”
And a background of Intelsat:
Intelsat, Ltd., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, today announced the successful closing of the acquisition of all of the primary equity ownership of its parent, Intelsat Holdings, Ltd. (“Intelsat Holdings”) by Serafina Holdings, Limited (“Serafina Holdings”), an entity formed by funds advised by BC Partners, Silver Lake and certain other equity investors.
Under the transaction, the equity of Intelsat Holdings was valued at approximately $5.0 billion. Of the current shareholders of Intelsat Holdings, the funds advised by or associated with Apax Partners Worldwide LLP, Apax Partners, L.P., Apollo Management V, L.P., Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC and Permira Advisers LLC, will sell 100 percent of their interests in the company. Following the closing, Intelsat’s current executives will remain in place and have an equity interest in Serafina Holdings, which is expected to be renamed Intelsat Global, Ltd.
Immediately following the consummation of the transaction, Intelsat (Bermuda), Ltd. assumed certain debt obligations entered into by Serafina Holdings to effect the transaction and refinance certain existing debt of Intelsat. The assumed debt includes a bridge financing comprised of two tranches, a $2.805 billion cash pay senior unsecured bridge loan and a $2.155 billion PIK election bridge loan.
“This transaction closes at a time when Intelsat is seeing strong momentum. We have improved the operating profile of our company, based on initiatives such as our fleet management program and the introduction of new services. Speaking on behalf of Intelsat’s management, we are looking forward to working with BC Partners and Silver Lake as we continue to execute our growth strategy,” said Dave McGlade, the Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat.
Raymond Svider, a Managing Partner at BC Partners, added, “Intelsat is a rare investment opportunity, providing revenue diversity, stability and global presence combined with attractive growth potential. We are proud to become associated with this world class management team and are looking forward to supporting them in taking the business to its next stage of development.”
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Intelsat, Ltd. in connection with the transaction. Intelsat’s legal advisors included Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy LLP, Wiley Rein LLP, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Merrill Lynch & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners LP acted as financial advisors, Latham & Watkins LLP as legal advisor and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as accounting and tax advisor to the acquiror.
About BC Partners
BC Partners is a leading international private equity firm, operating through integrated teams based in Geneva, Hamburg, London, Milan, New York and Paris. The latest fund, BCEC VIII, closed in May 2005 with €5.9 billion of commitments. For over 20 years, the firm has developed a long track record of successfully acquiring and developing businesses in partnership with management, investing in 65 acquisitions with a combined enterprise value of €49 billion. Recent investments include Brenntag, Amadeus, Dometic, Picard, SEAT Pagine Gialle and Unity Media.
About Silver Lake
Silver Lake is a leader in large private investments in technology, technology-enabled, and related growth industries. Silver Lake seeks to achieve superior financial returns by investing with the strategic and operating insights of an experienced industry participant. Silver Lake’s mission is to function as a value-added partner to the management teams of the world’s leading technology franchises. Its portfolio includes or has included technology industry leaders such as Ameritrade, Avago, Avaya, Business Objects, Flextronics, Gartner, Gerson Lehrman Group, Instinet, IPC Systems, MCI, NASDAQ, NetScout, NXP, Sabre Holdings, Seagate Technology, Serena Software, SunGard Data Systems, Thomson and UGS. For more information, please visit http://www.silverlake.com.
Intelsat is the leading provider of fixed satellite services (FSS) worldwide, delivering advanced transmission access for information and entertainment to some of the world’s leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, Internet service providers and governmental agencies. Intelsat also offers seamless service for voice, data and video transmission unmatched in the industry. With the globalization of content, broadband, telecom, HD and IPTV fueling next-generation growth, the ever expanding universe of satellite services are the cornerstones of today’s Intelsat. Real-time, advanced communications with people anywhere in the world is closer, by far.