UPDATE 1-Lockheed to sell 2nd telecoms satellite to Vietnam

* Deal worth $215 mln

* New satellite to be launched by May 2012
(Updates with contract value, details)

By Ho Binh Minh

HANOI, May 11 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. aerospace firm Lockheed
Martin Corp (LMT.N: ) has signed a $215 million contract to
manufacture and launch a second telecommunications satellite
for Vietnam, the country’s top telecoms group, VNPT, said on
Tuesday.

The contract is part of a larger project in which Vietnam
would invest between $280 million and $300 million in order to
launch the satellite into orbit by May 2012, said Hoang Minh
Thong, head of VNPT’s Telecoms Project Management Department.

Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, a unit of
Lockheed Martin Corp, would build the VINASAT 2 satellite over
24 months and deliver it into orbit by May 2012, an official
said after signing the contract with Hanoi-based VNPT on
Tuesday.

In April 2008, Vietnam launched its first telecoms
satellite, the $200 million VINASAT 1 built by Lockheed Martin,
from French Guiana to reduce reliance on the leasing of foreign
satellites and meet rising demand for telecoms services.

Up to 80 percent capacity of VINASAT 1 has now been used to
transmit data, information to remote areas and help Vietnam
monitor natural disasters and enhance national defence, VNPT
officials said.

VINASAT 2 “will help enhance the capacity of Vietnam’s
telecoms infrastructure”, VNPT Chairman Pham Long Tran said in
remarks after the signing ceremony, as the group projected
VINASAT 1 to be fully utilised by the end of 2011.

The new satellite, able to provide services such as
television, voice and high-speed data with a 15-year life span,
will also be used as a backup for VINASAT 1, VNPT said.

Nearly 24 million people, 28 percent of Vietnam’s
population of 86 million, used the Internet as of the end of
March, up nearly 14 percent from the same time last year,
government statistics show.

The total number of new phone users surged 41 percent last
year to 41.7 million, of which 37.7 million were mobile phone
users, and analysts attributed the growth to the launch of
high-speed 3G mobile phone services.

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(Editing by Lincoln Feast)

UPDATE 1-Lockheed to sell 2nd telecoms satellite to Vietnam