“We continuously work with governments, regulators and enterprise customers looking to evaluate the role of satellite broadband and help them understand the latest technology and network options and how they can deploy them in a simple yet efficient manner.”
Telecom Review Asia secured an interview with Vaibhav Magow, Associate Vice President of APAC at Hughes Network Systems to talk about the company’s ever-expanding footprint in the region and how its satellite services and solutions can not only add value to its customers’ business portfolios, but also help overcome the digital divide in order to provide high-speed internet access to different communities all across Asia Pacific.
Could you please tell our readers a little bit about your role as Associate Vice President of Asia Pacific at Hughes and the scope of your responsibilities in the company?
As Associate Vice President, I’m the head of the Asia/Pacific region for the International Division at Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES). I lead the Sales and Marketing teams in the region, and we work with our customers and partners within the region to increase the adoption of Hughes ground systems, products and services.
Our aim is to help customers, distributors and system integrators to compete effectively with the most efficient solutions. I also work with the business development teams at Hughes to develop strategic business for Hughes within the region.
Why do you think it’s important for Hughes to have a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region? Are there any significant differences between implementing your satellite services and solutions here compared to North America?
Hughes has been a leading supplier of broadband systems and solutions to the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region since the early 1980s, so we’ve had plenty of time to get acquainted with some of the biggest differences between the two regions.
Most importantly, there’s a stark divide between APAC markets in terms of Internet penetration. While countries like Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore have reputations as highly connected markets, on the whole Internet penetration in the APAC region is just a shade above 54%. For context, North America’s Internet penetration rate is about 95%, so we’re talking about a significantly larger potential demand for satellite Internet services in the APAC region vs. North America. Some of this disparity is due to socioeconomic factors within APAC markets, but for much of the region it’s the same geographic challenges that many international markets face in building out network infrastructure – and for which satellite is the ideal solution.
Our strategy is guided by the desire to bridge the digital divide on a global scale, and for much of the APAC region satellite Internet is the most readily available way of gaining Internet access. In fact, in the past year alone Hughes has significantly expanded its presence in the APAC region, including partnering with Philippine telecom provider PHSAT to enable Internet services for its small-to-medium enterprise customers, partnering with KBZ Gateway Myanmar to expand its cellular network reach and working with Reliance Jio in India to extend 4G/LTE service to remote and rural areas. Our customer PSN, in Indonesia, has deployed more than 2,000 satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi hotspots using Hughes JUPITER™ equipment – providing Internet access for upwards of 1 million Indonesians.
The APAC region contains some of the fastest growing economies and there are real challenges that satellite broadband addresses in this geography. As one of the most populous regions in the world, prosperity enabled by Internet technology here can greatly benefit the lives of billions of people – and in the process, have a positive impact on the global economy.
What are the challenges of operating in the Asia Pacific region that you have faced so far and how did you overcome them?
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that the region is geographically large, diverse and fragmented. Large in that the region spans about 1/3 of the earth. Diverse in that, as noted above, there are huge differences between the developed countries and the developing countries. Fragmented in that there are many countries in the region, each with their own set of policies and priorities. Keeping track and staying plugged in to the region is challenging but also essential.
In terms of providing solutions to the telecommunications industry in Asia Pacific, what do you believe sets Hughes apart from your competitors in the market?
As the number one global VSAT provider, Hughes industry-leading JUPITER™ System sets us apart from our competitors. Employing the advanced DVB-S2X industry standard, the JUPITER System is becoming the platform of choice by operators in the APAC region and across the globe, delivering high capacity and efficiency for any satellite broadband implementation.
The HT family of JUPITER terminals can be configured readily for all customer markets – consumer, enterprise and government – and JUPITER System gateways can be scaled to the multi-Gbps capacity requirements of next-generation HTS systems such as the Indonesian Multifunctional Satellite. Additionally, the JUPITER System is the ideal solution for areas that are underserved or unserved by terrestrial broadband and has already been implemented in several APAC countries – including Myanmar, Indonesia and India.
But it’s not just our hardware solutions that set us apart in the marketplace. Hughes has nearly 40 years of experience operating in the APAC region, and there’s absolutely no substitute for the local knowledge and relationships that come with that experience. We’ve taken our time to understand the unique connectivity needs in each market, rather than taking a “one-size-fits-all" approach, and our continued expansion throughout the region is a testament to our business philosophy.
Are there any upcoming projects that the company is working on currently? Any future projects in the pipeline?
In Indonesia, five different service providers – including Lintasarta, Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), Teleglobal and Telkom/TelkomSat – won the tender bids from BAKTI, a division of the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Information, to deploy 8,000 cellular backhaul and Internet access sites using over 7 GHz of satellite capacity across multiple satellites. What’s exciting is that each of these five service providers selected the Hughes JUPITER System as their satellite platform.
Currently, we are working on outfitting the providers with the necessary equipment. As for future projects, we are always working with service providers, governments and other operators to find new ways to help connect the unconnected – from 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE backhaul to community Wi-Fi projects to large scale satellite network deployments.