Telenor plans THOR II replacement

Norwegian telco Telenor has signed a deal with Orbital Sciences Corporation for the delivery of a new geosynchronous (GEO) communications satellite. The spacecraft -THOR II-R – will serve as a replacement satellite for THOR II, which will be retired from service in 2008. Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, a division of Telenor Broadcast Holding will own and operate the satellite.

The new craft will provide Ku-band fixed telecommunications and direct-to-home television broadcasting services from Telenor's 1° West Longitude orbital location. The new satellite will have 24 transponders with three times more payload power (3.6 kilowatts payload power) compared to the current THOR II satellite. THOR II-R will improve Telenor's service coverage in the Nordic countries, Europe and the Middle East. Delivery of the satellite is scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Cato Halsaa, Managing Director of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, said that new TV channels, the introduction of HDTV and the expansion of broadband services to Telenor's markets had increased the need for several more transponders to accommodate growth in these emerging applications.