Five companies buy bid docs for satellite project
Five global players in the communication sector have bought bid documents for the installation and post-installation support services of Bangabandhu Satellite-1.
US-based Boeing, Canadian companies Telus and Orbit, MDA Corporation from France and Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) of China have purchased the documents to participate in the bidding, said Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The deadline for document purchase ended on Sunday.
But the deadline to submit the completed bids has been extended to June 18 from an earlier date of June 2, Bose said. The project is expected to be awarded to the winning bidder by September.
“BTRC officials will open the bids on June 18 to find the best candidate to launch Bangladesh's maiden satellite,” said Bose.
The satellite will be in orbit within the next two years, he added.
The government aims to launch Bangabandhu Satellite-1, a communication and broadcasting satellite, by December 2017, to mark the country's 46th Victory Day.
BTRC is the designated agency to deal with satellite related work on behalf of the government.
Bangladesh will launch its first satellite on the 119.1 east longitude orbital slot, which was earlier purchased for $28 million from the Russian company Intersputnik.
The country also plans to operate two other satellites on different orbital slots later.
In order to set up a commercial venture, at least three satellites are needed, the BTRC chairman said.
“After this one, we need to launch two more satellites to utilise satellite communication as a business opportunity.”
The government also plans to later form a company to operate the business and deal with other maintenance issues properly, officials added.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had earlier approved a Tk 2,967 crore fund on September 16 last year to help achieve the vision of launching the country's own satellite.
Of the amount, Tk 1,652.44 crore will be provided by the bidder with the government paying the rest.
Among the potential bidders, CGWIC had earlier offered the government to run its first satellite on another orbital slot for an amount that was Tk 500 crore lower than the government's estimation.
The main focus is to find the best quality and optimal service provider, rather than picking the cheapest alternative among the bidders for the project, officials said.
Tender documents also show that the Bangladesh government will provide sovereign guarantee to any bidder that offers at least 85 percent of the total financing requirement.
The condition will stand as part of the appraisal and negotiation process, it adds.
BTRC only restricted tender participation to companies that have successfully manufactured and launched at least 15 commercial satellites and have a minimum of 10 years in operating experience, officials said.
The satellite will break even within seven years and help save hefty amounts of foreign currency in its 15-year life span, according to an estimate.
BTRC has selected two locations for the satellite's ground handling -- at Telecom Staff College in Gazipur and Betbunia Earth Station in Rangamati.
The government is also required to provide the land for ground stations along with other utilities, such as electricity, sewage, water and internet services to support development efforts of the winning bidder, according to the tender documents.
Bangladesh aims to serve local demand for a CBS satellite through the launch of the satellite, as well as offer commercial services to neighbouring and regional countries, like Indonesia and the Philippines. The satellite could also deliver to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, given that the frequency is properly coordinated.