Yahsat, the Mubadala-owned satellite operator, has announced plans to launch its third satellite in 2016 in a development that will extend higher Ka-band frequency coverage to an additional 17 countries and rank the Abu Dhabi firm as the world’s eighth largest operator.

With the launch of Al Yah 3, Yahsat will also complete its coverage of the African continent, where it plans to provide ‘wide-reaching, reliable and cost-effective satellite broadband and internet connectivity’ to unserved and underserved communities and other consumers.

Homaid Al Shemmari, CEO of Aerospace and Engineering Services at Mubadala, said: “Yahsat is one of the UAE’s great success stories, and with Al Yah 3, we are well positioned to reach our goal of becoming a global leader in the provision of advanced satellite service.

“The launch of the company’s third satellite within less than a decade of operation is a clear signal of the UAE aerospace industry’s intentions for the future.”

In the meantime, the Al Yah 3 satellite programme will create new career opportunities for young Emiratis within a workforce that is already 57% UAE national and will allow a select group of students to follow the satellite manufacturing process from beginning till end.

Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Yahsat CEO further noted: “The success of both Y1A and Y1B in providing government, NGO, consumer and corporate services has given us the drive to explore new growth avenues, expand our footprint to new markets and reinforce our vision.

“Our success owes a large part to the world-class international experts and Emirati professionals that work side by side to make Yahsat a truly multicultural company that encourages and drives our employees to meet and exceed challenges with confidence.”

His Excellency Jassem Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of Yahsat’s Board of Directors, added: “The UAE is rapidly developing in the global satellite industry, and becoming the region’s hub for satellite innovation. The next goal is to make our value proposition a global one.”

Yahsat’s first satellite Y1A was successfully launched in April 2011 and the company’s second satellite Y1B was successfully launched in April 2012. Yahsat was named “Satellite Operator of the Year” at SatCom in May 2014, on its first submission for the award.

Previously, the company had won the “Most Innovative Product/Service for Africa” for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013, in recognition of Yahsat’s provision of connectivity to residents in unserved and underserviced areas across 28 countries through YahClick.

To date, the YahClick service has been rolled out in seven African countries, namely Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, South Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, as well as five others.