Satellite Intelligence


Last Updated: March 2002


Asian Mobile Satellite System

Asia Pacific Mobile Telecom

London court orders Hughes to pay Subhash Chandra $58 million

(Posted on 8 May, 7:30 pm)

After a long while, a court in the UK has provided some good news for media baron Subhash Chandra.

The Chandra promoted company Afro Asian Satellite Communications Gibraltar (AASCG) Ltd has won a five-year-long legal battle against Hughes Space and Communications International over a cancelled satellite contract.

The London Court of International Arbitration, in a ruling on 11 April, ordered Hughes to pay $38 million to AASCG plus up to $20 million in interest as well as court costs, the figure to be decided at a future date, the 30 April issue of Space News has reported.

Hughes Space and Communications International is part of Hughes Electronics Corporation's satellite manufacturing arm, which was sold to Seattle-based Boeing Co last year.

AASCG and Hughes signed a $700-million contract in January 1995 for two large mobile-telephone satellites that AASCG was planning as part of its Agrani project. AASCG made an initial payment of $38 million to Hughes as part of the contract. But in late 1996, Hughes stopped work on Agrani, saying that the project's backers were unable to finance further work.

But AASCG argued that Hughes stopped work on Agrani because of its greater interest in a contract with the Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications (APMT) consortium of Singapore, a Chinese-backed concern that was planning a similar satellite system over East Asia.

For the US satellite maker, the AASCG-APMT episode has proved a costly one. In addition to losing the AASCG contract and being forced to reimburse the company with interest, Hughes was barred by the US government from shipping the APMT satellite due to technology transfer concerns. Hughes subsequently paid APMT a contract cancellation fee.

April 14th, 2000 - From Hughes financial reports: "which was partially offset by a one-time after-tax charge of $49 million associated with the termination of the Asia Pacific Mobile Telecommunications (APMT) satellite system contract."

Two HS702 GEO satellites, one spare, built by Hughes. Offering hand-held mobile services.

Surrounded by controversy as the antennas resemble a spy satellite, not a civilian communications satellite, it was expected to launch in1998 at a cost of $650 million, but in July 1998 the export license for Hughes, to export the APMT satellite to China, was suspended by the US Government. Hughes and APMT are searching for alternatives. Plans called for launch by end of 1999, and service in 2000.

Venture by China Satellite Launch & Tracking Control General, China United Telecommunications Satellite Co. Ltd., China Telecommunications Broadcast Satellite, China Overseas Space Development & Investment Co., Singapore Technologies, Singapore Telecom.

It is in direct competition to ACeS Garuda, targeting China, Philippines, Vietnam and South East Asia, with mobile and fixed voice, fax and data. Recent announcements claim service charges less than one third of competitors at around $1 per minute.

ASIAN MOBILE SATELLITE SYSTEM -- Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc. will provide a satellite-based mobile phone system to Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite (APMT) Pte. Ltd. Featuring 7 kilowatts of power and a 12.25-meter L-band antenna, the APMT system will provide the infrastructure to support residents in Asia-Pacific countries reaching north to China, south to Indonesia, east to Japan, and west to Pakistan. The APMT system is capable of supporting 16,000 voice circuits simultaneously. The first APMT satellite, an HS GEM spacecraft model designed specifically for geomobile communications, will be available for a Long March 3B launch in 2000. APMT is designed to provide a minimum of 12 years of service from its orbital slot between 95 degrees and 125 degrees East longitude.


LOS ANGELES, May 8, 1998 -- Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc., and Asia Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite (APMT) Pte. Ltd., a company sponsored by Chinese and Singapore partners and registered in Singapore, have concluded a contract for a satellite-based mobile phone system. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The system provides the infrastructure to support millions of subscribers in Asia-Pacific countries. The turnkey system includes one satellite, one spare satellite, five gateways, one network operations center, one satellite operations center, and an initial purchase of 70,000 user terminals.

Each satellite is a geomobile communications satellite, HS GEM, and draws upon the technical heritage of the HS 601, the world's most purchased commercial communications satellite, and the technical advances inherent in the larger, more powerful HS 702. APMT satellites will generate about 7 kilowatts of power. Using both L-band user links and Ku-band gateway links, APMT is capable of supporting 16,000 voice circuits simultaneously. The L-band antenna is 12.25 meters in diameter.

The dual-mode handsets, capable of both satellite operation and operation as cellular telephones via the GSM protocol, also feature a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. This enables the handheld units or vehicles to be located in the event of an emergency, and also benefits the user through proper routing and handling of international calls.

The APMT award is one of two Hughes has received for the HS GEM spacecraft system. Hughes will make the first satellite available for launch in 2000. The APMT satellite will be launched onboard a Long March 3B rocket and is designed to provide 12 years of service life from its orbital location between 95 degrees and 125 degrees East longitude.

Hughes is the turnkey provider with ground network equipment and handsets provided by Hughes Network Systems. Headquartered near Washington, DC, with international sales and support offices worldwide, Hughes Network Systems ( is a leading provider of wireless communications, satellite communications, and enterprise network solutions.

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