The telecom regulator will strike a Tk 2,967 crore deal with French company “Thales Alenia” for the satellite in a city hotel in presence of Tarana Halim, state minister for posts and telecommunications division (PTD).
Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Shahjahan Mahmood and Jean-Loic Galle, chairman and chief executive officer of the Thales Alenia would put pen on the agreement paper, an official of the telecom regulator told BSS on Tuesday.
PTD officials said the government has selected Thales Alenia for handling the satellite as per the recommendation made by the telecom regulator after scrutinising its financial and technical proposals.
Four companies Great Wall Industries Corporation of China, Thales Alenia of France, Orbital ATK of the United States, and MDA Corporation of Canada – had participated in the international tender called by the BTRC.
Earlier on 20 October, the cabinet committee on government purchase approved the tender proposal in favour of Thales for the satellite which will be used for telecommunication and broadcast purposes, as all other participants became non-responsive during the bidding process.
“Our first satellite ‘Bangabandhu-I’ will be launched into the space on 16 December, 2017,” Tarana Halim earlier told the news agency.
She said manufacturing and other necessary works are going to start on 16 December next.
Officials said MDA Corporation became the lowest bidder with US$ 22 crore while Thales Alenia proposed US$ 24.80 crore. But, the telecom regulator selected Thales Alenia which came up with much better technical specifications than MDA Corporation.
Officials familiar with the launching process said a satellite is sent into space on top of a rocket. Aimed at averting any kind of risk, Bangladesh has decided to keep ready a spare rocket for the launch that may increase the cost slightly.
Bangladesh will be the 54th country when the satellite would be launched into the orbital slot on 119.1 degree east longitude which (slot) was bought from Russian satellite company “Intersputnik” for US$ 28 million this year.
The Bangabandhu satellite will have 40 transponders, which would be able to serve SAARC countries, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as countries such as Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. One transponder is equivalent to 36 MHz.
The executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on 16 September, 2014, approved the ‘Bangabandhu Satellite Launching project’ involving Tk 2967.95 crore.
Under the project, two earth stations would be set up at Joydevpur in Gazipur and Betbunia in Rangamati apart from a satellite.
Bangladesh spends around US$ 14 million annually on satellite rents for running television channels, telephones and radio connectivity.
Once launched, the satellite would save around Tk 110 to Tk 120 crore annually in foreign currency as broadcasting expenditure.