The future of the satellite industry globally is bright considering the phenomenal growth of applications dependent on satellite technology, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Smart Digital Communications Bhd Khairuddin Abdul Rahman said here Saturday.

Khairuddin, who is here as one of the CEO panellists on the development of satellite services in the Asia-Pacific at the Satellite 2007 Conference (Feb 19-22), said Malaysia was one of the emerging countries experiencing this growth with the expansion of Interactive Distance Learning; VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol); IPTV (Internet Protocol TV); Asset Tracking; and Digital Signage for advertising.

The military and law enforcement authorities were increasingly using various applications using satellite services to monitor and eradicate piracy, smuggling and terrorist activities around the Straits of Melaka and the South China Sea, he told Bernama in an interview.

Smart Digital Communications, a privately-owned Bumiputera company established in 1995, currently has 4,000 subscribers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Russia.

Khairuddin said he was looking to expand subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region.

To improve its services, Smart Digital Communications planned to place more emphasis on KU Band which promises subscribers better signal quality.

Last year, the company raked in a revenue of RM55 million, garnering a net profit of RM4.5 million domestically, an increase from the previous year’s revenue of RM45 million with a net profit of RM3.5 million in 2005.

During discussions with other panel members, Khairuddin raised several concerns and mapped out strategies to overcome negative market perceptions of satellite services in the region.

Among concerns raised were loss of reception during heavy rain; the service is perceived to be expensive among subscribers when compared to cable and wireless internet; and the industry has to cope with outdated government regulations that have not kept up with the fast-paced growth of the global satellite industry.