Mumbai: Worldspace Satellite Radio announced its wholly owned subsidiary, Worldspace Europe, received approval from Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur, to use 12.5 MHz of spectrum in the L-band (1479.5 – 1492 MHz) on a nation-wide basis for the operation of a terrestrial repeater network in Germany.
The repeaters will work in conjunction with Worldspace’s existing satellite network to provide German consumers with a subscription-based satellite radio service in automobiles. This authorization from the Bundesnetzagentur makes Germany the third European nation to enable satellite radio in automobiles.
Worldspace expects to secure licenses in additional countries before the end of the year. The Company continues to build solid momentum toward a pan-European mobile satellite radio service and has a plan to deliver its service to Germany, Italy and Switzerland with its existing in-orbit satellite network.
Germany has the largest automobile market in Western Europe, with an average of 3.4 million cars sold ever year over the past 16 years. Annual commercial vehicle sales exceed 200,000 units. In addition, it is the most populous nation in Western Europe with over 82 million people. This affluent, technologically advanced nation has the fifth largest economy world-wide, the largest GDP in Europe and has the largest revenue-generating European radio market as well.
"This is a significant development for Worldspace," said Worldspace Satellite Radio chairman and CEO Noah A. Samara. "We are very happy to receive authorization for our mobile satellite radio services in Germany. This achievement confirms the remarkable recent trajectory of our business in Europe, and supports our current discussions with potential partners who have large commitments in these markets.
"The German market is a critical market for us. Not only is Germany the largest country in Western Europe with the largest economy, it is home to a number of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers who are very familiar with satellite radio, having already integrated satellite receivers into their vehicle lines for the American market. We are working to extend that experience to their home base."
Worldspace expects to launch its German satellite radio service shortly after its 2009 service introduction in Italy. The Company expects the funding required to launch its German service to be substantially reduced because of its new plan to use existing in-orbit satellite capacity to serve the Italian, Swiss and German markets. Worldspace is currently in discussions with a number of potential strategic partners who have a strong interest in the German market.
Upon service launch, subscribers throughout Germany will have access to a wide range of exclusive content including commercial-free music as well as news, sports, talk and other entertainment content. Worldspace also expects to provide other services beyond radio including traffic, navigation and personalized content such as music downloads directly from the satellite.
Worldspace expects to obtain similar terrestrial repeater authorizations in other markets in Europe during the course of 2008 and 2009. It recently announced receipt of a repeater license in Switzerland, where approximately 65% of the population speaks German and about 10% speak Italian.
In France, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) satellite digital radio (SDR) standard, upon which Worldspace’s technology is based, was approved for deployment in the L-band in January 2008, and its licensing process is targeted for later this year. Other European countries are expected to address their licensing processes within a similar timeframe.