EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corp. and is providing satellite communications solutions including video distribution, data communications and backhaul services for media and broadcast, enterprise, government and military customers. In addition, the company provides spacecraft operations and command and control services for EchoStar’s fleet of 24 owned, leased and managed in-orbit satellites.
Prior to 2008, the company operated the DISH Network service brand, which was spun off as DISH on January 1st, 2008.
EchoStar is perhaps best known for its direct broadcast satellite (DBS) system, DISH Network, which was launched in 1996 and quickly became the fastest growing satellite TV service in the USA. The company operated three interrelated business units:
- Echostar Satellite Services; oversees satellite uplink, transponder space-usage, and other services for television customers and other satellite users.
- EchoStar Technologies Corporation designs, manufactures, and distributes DBS reception equipment (set-top boxes and antennas).
- EchoStar International Corporation, headquartered in the Netherlands, provides a range of satellite-related services throughout EMEA region, Australia, and Asia.
EchoStar was originally formed in 1980 by its chairman Charles Ergen as a distributor of C-band TV systems. In 1987, EchoStar applied for a direct broadcast satellite (DBS) license with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and was granted access to orbital slot 119° W in 1992.
On December 28th 1995, EchoStar successfully launched its first satellite, EchoStar I. On March 4th 1996, EchoStar established the DISH Network brand name to market its home satellite TV system.
In 1998, EchoStar purchased the broadcasting assets of a satellite broadcasting joint venture of News Corporation’s ASkyB and MCI Worldcom. With this purchase EchoStar obtained 28 of the 32 transponder licenses in the 110° W orbital slot, more than doubling existing CONUS broadcasting capacity at a value of 682.5 million USD.
On September 25th 2007, EchoStar acquired Sling Media, Inc. for 380 million USD. The agreement gave EchoStar control of a new media firm that built a business in selling Slingbox set-tops, which allowed cable and satellite subscribers to remotely access programming from their homes via high-speed Internet connections.
In January 2008, the Dish Network business was demerged from the technology and infrastructure side of the business. A split in the shares created two companies, DISH Network Corporation, which consists mainly of the DISH Network business, and EchoStar Corporation, which retains ownership of the technology side including the satellites, Sling Media, and the set-top box development arm.
On February 14th, 2011, EchoStar acquired Hughes Communications for 1.3 billion USD. The deal marked the second time EchoStar and Hughes attempted to merge, although both companies looked radically different before. In 2002, EchoStar and Hughes Electronics, owning DirecTV, had their combination shuttered by regulators who feared a monopoly in the satellite-TV businesses. Hughes operated the Jupiter satellite system (Jupiter-1 and Jupiter-2).
In 2014 EchoStar acquired Ireland-based Solaris Mobile, Ltd, a joint venture between satellite operators Eutelsat and SES, set up in 2008 to develop next generation mobile communication services. Solaris Mobile Ltd. was deploying a satellite and terrestrial network for wholesale access to enhanced mobile communications across Europe in the 30 MHz S-band licensed to Solaris Mobile.
In January 2017, EchoStar agreed with DISH to transfer the EchoStar Technologies businesses, which designed, developed and distributed digital set-top boxes, provided satellite uplinking and broadcast services and developed and supported streaming video technology back to DISH. The transaction was completed on January 31, 2017, substantially returning DISH to its pre-2008 status as a set-top-box hardware manufacturer.
In March 2017, after two delays caused by bad weather conditions, launch operator SpaceX orbited EchoStar XXIII on a Falcon 9 rocket. The satellite provides broadcast services for Brazil. Because EchoStar XXIII is a heavy satellite, this mission did not include a rocket landing post-takeoff, as it would require too much fuel.
EchoStar continued to expand into South America, mainly using capacity on a Telesat satellite, a Eutelsat satellite and Yahsat’s Al Yah 3 satellite. Hughes, in partnership with Facebook, has more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, Kaul said, with expansions planned later this year into Ecuador and Chile.
Also in 2017 EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems division signed a 190 million USD-contract with satellite operator OneWeb for the production of a ground network system, supporting OneWeb’s constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in its mission to bring affordable broadband service to millions of households, schools and other end users around the world.
On August 2nd 2017 EchoStar lost contact with its 20-year old Echostar-3 satellite, built by Lockheed Martin and launched in 1997 on an Atlas 2AS rocket. The satellite was already operating five years past its design life, and had been placed in a fuel-saving inclined orbit for the past three-plus years.
In June and July 2018 UK-based satellite operator Inmarsat satellite offered to acquire EchoStar but the offers were rejected.
On May 20th, 2019, EchoStar sold the Broadcast Satellite Services including the 9 owned satellites for 800 million USD to DISH Network Corporation reshaping EchoStar as a company whose primary focus is on internet connectivity.
EchoStar has maintained a European business presence for over 20 years. With offices in the UK (HQ), The Netherlands, Ukraine and Spain EchoStar is one of the region’s leading digital TV operators with state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions.
In 1988 EchoStar commenced operations in The Netherlands where it began to build a strong development and distribution team to supply digital set-top box solutions into the European, Middle-East and African markets. In 1994, EchoStar further developed its European operation with the addition of a commercial and after-sales office in Madrid to oversee the Spanish market and key customer Via Digital.
Later EchoStar wanted to rapidly expand its engineering base in Europe and acquired the UK based company Eldon Technology in 1999. Eldon Technology, founded in 1988, became part of the EchoStar family and added a substantial degree of digital TV expertise. In addition to serving customers including Via Digital, Cyfrowy Polsat and Telefonica Latin America, EchoStar Europe designed a number of award-winning products for use on DISH Network and Bell’s ExpressVu service (now BellTV) in North America.
In a move designed to increase operational efficiencies, EchoStar’s three European operations including the engineering resources were brought together under the same trading name of EchoStar Europe in 2006.
1987: EchoStar founder Charles Ergen filed for a direct broadcast satellite license with the FCC, and gets one five years later.
1988: Opened first office in Europe in the Netherlands.
1994: Opened second office in Madrid, Spain to service Via Digital.
1995: The company’s first satellite, EchoStar I, is launched CGWIC from China.
1996: The company’s DBS service, DISH TV Network, is launched.
1998: DISH TV reached one million subscribers. EchoStar acquired the assets of a satellite broadcasting joint venture of News Corporation’s ASkyB and MCI Worldcom.
1999: Acquired UK-based Eldon Technology adding to engineering base.
2006: Consolidated European engineering teams, all European companies trading as ‘EchoStar Europe’.
2008: EchoStar Corporation spined-off from DISH Network on NASDAQ. EchoStar Europe re-launched business to focus on EMEA opportunities.
2009: EchoStar is nominated for 5 industry awards and won product of the year award.
2011: EchoStar acquired Hughes Communications in a deal valued at 1.3 billion USD.
2014: EchoStar and SES signed an agreement with Airbus Defense & Space for the built of the SES-11 / Echostar-105 Satellite. EchoStar acquired Ireland-based Solaris Mobile Ltd, a joint venture between satellite operators Eutelsat and SES, set up in 2008 to develop next generation mobile communication services.
2017: Echostar ordered Jupiter-3 Ka-band satellite at Maxar Technologies (aka Space Systems/Loral (SS/L)). EchoStar has planned to launch it in 2021 to bring growth capacity over North and South America for the company’s satellite internet business. EchoStar lost contact with its Echostar-3 satellite. The 20-year old spacecraft was moved to a orbital graveyard. In that same year EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems division signed a contract with satellite operator OneWeb for the production of a ground network system, supporting OneWeb’s constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
2018: In June and July Inmarsat satellite operator attempted to acquire Echostar but the offers were rejected.
2019: EchoStar sold the Broadcast Satellite Services included the 9 owned satellites for 800 million USD to DISH Network Corporation reshaping EchoStar as a company whose primary focus is on internet connectivity.
2020: EchoStar formed a joint venture with satellite operator Yahsat and added 20,000 HughesNet internet subscribers in Brazil.
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