Recently, at Euroconsult’s Satellite Business Week, CEO and founder James Yenbamroong, talks with Talk Satellite publisher Kevin French about mu Space Corp’s activities and plans.
Listen to the audio clip here:
Kevin James wants to talk about satellite here in Paris at Euroconsult's Satellite Business Week. James Thank you for inviting me for an interview. It's my first time in Euroconsult in Paris and I'm excited. Good to see all the satellite players, finance and everybody. I've known Kevin for quite some time so it's good to see you again too. Kevin Please give us a background on your company mu Space Corp that you've formed in Thailand. James mu Space Corp is a recently formed company but it has been in the works for quite some time. I've been an entrepreneur in the mobile and space industries, and so the creation of mu Space was to focus on satellite and space technologies. It's the result of a 10-year vision. In mu Space, 'mu' stands for an average. It's a project for everyone. I want to improve the quality of life of people so mu Space is going to do just that. We will use satellite and space technologies to enable new services that can deliver high quality services with affordable costs. Kevin Can you tell us more about your business plans and what you are offering to bring to the Southeast Asian market. James The business plan is simple. We work closely with satellite operators to lease the capacity. We are a satellite service provider in Southeast Asia focusing on quality of service and affordable costs. The targets in the first two years are big enterprises and telcos, leveraging on my recent mobile spectrum bids. We can open up doors and close sales fast. We're looking to work in a fast-paced environment. So that's the first two years and we're now going to pre-sales. This allows us to realize the vision of launching our own satellite in 2020. Really basic plan: generate revenues and costs optimization. We do the pre-sales and then the migration to a high throughput satellite. We want to capture all the migrations going on from these old satellites, hoping to acquire the subscriber base and make it look nice for finance and investors. While that’s in the works, we have a longer term plan to lower the costs. We are currently working with our satellite partners to develop a new high throughput satellite covering Asia-Pacific and Africa. Kevin How can satellites improve lives in the Southeast Asia region? James Looking at the world at night, Southeast Asia is pretty dark except the open area. It’s unlike the United States or Japan where every place is kind of lit up. So those are the markets that satellite is suitable for. Telco and government rural projects are looking to close the digital divide. That has to be worked hand-in-hand with terrestrial networks. Kevin Can you give us more information on your satellite dish, filings and design? James We have several filings that we are working on. Our focus is on Asia-Pacific, with the ability to scale up to areas in Africa. The satellite would be Ku and K band. The model has two things: cost and vitality. We can realize cost savings by using a high throughput satellite, which we are working with our partners. We are also focusing on small satellites, and then offer to enterprise and government customers. For the launch, we are firm on adopting a long-term satellite model. We will be working with a new launch service provider to improve the viability and that can take on a little risk to do things differently than the existing operators. Kevin How are you intending to fund your company and where you are with this? James We are riding on infrastructure and we get help from satellite operators so launching it does not require a lot of capital. Mainly, the initial investment is on gateways to VSAT hubs and user terminal deployments so that's minimal. The ground infrastructure is about 10 to 20% of the cost of the space segment. As we are building up, right now it is funded by myself and close associates. We are going through fundraising rounds with strategic investors that have a long term mindset and business presence in multiple countries in Asia. Also, we're working with everyone Project. We have several things going on, the spacesuit and things like that, so we're looking at partners that can help us realize our 10 years vision. Kevin Can you give us more information on those developments that you're hoping to expand into? James We are focused on Indochina region. These markets are solid among new markets where the mobile network extension is going on. As you’ve heard, we’ve submitted proposals for spectrums 2.1 and 2.3 Gigahertz. So I know where the current level of rounds being planned. I have a lot of requests coming from telcos, and while we are developing the launch manifestation plan. Kevin And of course, you have your everyone Project. James It's a 10-year vision that I came up with. It's undergoing three phases, and now we are in the first phase. everyone Project tackle two things: the satellite itself and the space-related activities. For the satellite, I wish I can unveil it for this interview, it's basically trying to convince the satellite manufacturers to come up with a new powerful bus. I'm looking into all these developments and they want the existing satellites to go on for 20-30 years. But the market is changing. Launch costs have come down. With the small satellite industry, the price has come down as well. The model is moving towards quick deployments and much shorter terms, and you can put in upgrades to take advantage of more commercial, off-the-shelf services. I call it a flying power bank. The satellite is a service module that you can stack on. It could be something else. So I wanted the bus to be as small and powerful as possible. Kevin James, thank you very much. James Thank you Kevin, and look forward to the next interview.