Two ventures have contracts for the supply on a revenue sharing basis of very small aperture terminal (VSAT) systems for data communications. The award of the posts, telephones & telegraphs administration (PTT) contracts coincides with the coming into service of Turkey’s first telecommunications satellite, Turksat 1B.

The ventures are the US’ Comsat, and Hughes Network Systems (HNS), also of the US, in joint venture with telecommunications manufacturer Netas and Cukurova Holding, both local. The ventures will make the investments, and take 27.9 per cent of the proceeds over a 10-year operating period. The systems will then be handed over to the PTT.

The investment costs for the ground receiving equipment are expected to be about $3 million for each venture. If each manages to sign up about 10,000 customers in the first five years at about $15,000 each, the total value of each project is expected to be about $18 million-20 million. Bankers are expected to provide most demand for the VSAT services, which will also be offered to the tourism, press, health and education sectors.

Turksat 1B started up operations on 10 October, after commissioning tests following its launch in August (MEED 26:8:1994). The satellite will be operated for the first two years of its nominal 10-year lifespan by France’s Aerospatiale, which built it with Alcatel, also of France, and Germany’s MBB. Afterwards, operations will be handed over to PTT engineers. The Aerospatiale group is working on a third satellite, to replace Turksat 1A, which was lost when its Ariane rocket failed in January.