Shin Corp subsidiary Shin Satellite has successfully launched its USD400 million iPSTAR satellite from French Guyana amid a blaze of publicity. The iPSTAR project is widely regarded as the company’s most ambitious yet and will provide capacity for high speed broadband services to customers across Asia. Shin Satellite said it has so far sold 8,000 ground terminals providing retail customers with voice, data and video capacity at a cost of USD1,000 each. It is now looking to secure a swathe of more lucrative wholesale leasing contracts to accompany the deals it has tied up with Thai state-owned incumbent TOT Corp, the Burmese military and two Vietnamese telcos. It is widely believed that business in China and India will be vital to iPSTAR’s success.
Shin Corp, majority owned by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s family, broadcast the event live via its iTV television channel and took out full page adverts in the country’s newspapers to announce the launch. The Prime Minister’s involvement with Shin has been the source of much criticism in some quarters, who accuse him of exploiting his power to further his business interests. The dissenting voices were at their loudest when the Borad of Investment granted Shin Satellite an eight-year tax holiday from revenues from the iPSTAR project. Shin has stakes in numerous communications ventures, including cellco Advanced Info Services (AIS), corporate data solutions provider Advanced Datanetwork Communications (ADC), ISP CS Loxinfo and broadband service company Shin Broadband Internet.