The company released a statement on the matter on Monday after reports said that Bangladesh’s first satellite had not been able to earn anything since its launch three years ago.
The statement dismissed reports the satellite failed to earn anything in the past three years, saying it continuously generated revenue.
“The company has generated over Tk 3 billion so far. Currently, the company is taking in about Tk 100 million per month. Nearly all of it is coming from the domestic market. This revenue will gradually increase.”
About 10 percent of the satellite’s monthly income goes into operating expenses, salaries and other costs, he said.
On May 12, 2018, Bangladesh entered a new era by launching its first artificial satellite – Bangabandhu Satellite-1 – to Earth’s orbit.
The cost of the satellite project was estimated at Tk 30 billion. In a 2012 feasibility study, the government said it planned to make back the money in seven years.
Though it has earned Tk 3 billion in three years, BSCL officials say revenue still lags behind the targets set in that feasibility study.
BSCL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Shahjahan Mahmood told bdnews24.com: “A target was set in the 2012 feasibility study and it was said at the time that the cost of the project would be recouped in seven years. But we launched the satellite in 2018.”
“When we launched the Bangabandhu satellite, we were the 57th country in the world to have one. Now the number of countries has increased to 75 or 76. As a result, bandwidth supply on the market has increased substantially. As the demand is relatively low, we aren't able to sell according to expectations.”
The CEO also added that the COVID-19 pandemic had hampered their market expansion.
The company is looking to the domestic market as it hasn’t been able to get a foothold in foreign markets as planned, Mahmood said.
“We are working hard to expand the activity of the Bangabandhu satellite. We will see the results in a few months.”
At present, the satellite is broadcasting 36 TV channels, including Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and DTH operator ‘Akash’. Two of Bangladesh’s banks are using the satellite for their ATM services.
Talks are also underway with a number of public and private banks.
The BSCL is also providing telecommunication services to 31 distant areas and 112 remote islands.
The company is working to bring satellite service to more disadvantaged people in distant and remote areas, according to the BSCL.