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Delayed Optus satellite launch successful

Optus is expected to deliver better mobile network coverage to remote areas of the country with its newly launched Optus 10 satellite.

After a delay of several months, Optus has successfully launched a new satellite that it says will boost Australian television, internet, phone, and data transmissions.

The Optus 10 satellite was carried skywards on Friday morning, Australian time, by an Ariane 5 rocket launched from the European space centre at Kourou in French Guiana.

After about 45 minutes, it detached into geostationary orbit where it will remain for around 15 years.

It joins five other satellites owned by Optus that are in orbit, servicing Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. It is the 10th satellite to be launched by Optus.

The company says it will provide better mobile network coverage in remote areas and greater bandwidth to support the delivery of video, data, and phone services.

"This represents the next advance into space by Australians," said Rob Parcell, Optus' satellite director, in a statement.

The launch was first planned for May, but was delayed for technical reasons.

"Launching a satellite is a complex process," an Optus representative said.

"No one launches a satellite until it's been fully tested and the launch vehicle is capable of completing its launch mission."

Optus has dominated the provision of satellite services in Australia since it launched its first 29 years ago. Its satellites generate more than AU$300 million in revenue annually.

At one point, in August last year, parent company SingTel was considering selling Optus' satellite business . However, after an internal review of the division, SingTel announced that it was going to continue to invest and grow the business from within Optus.

Optus is also facing increasing pressure from foreign players such as Luxembourg's Intelsat and Britain's Inmarsat.

NBN Co, the company rolling out the National Broadband Network, is set to launch two satellites next year to service regional Australia. The AU$620 million Ka-band satellites are due to be launched next year on the back of two 777-tonne rockets by French company Arianespace . The satellites will provide broadband services to approximately 200,000 premises across the Australian mainland, as well as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Macquarie Island, and the Cocos Islands.

In April, Optus also inked a three-year wholesale agreement with New Zealand internet service provider Wireless Nation .

Optus announced today that it has chosen SingTel's head of group digital life Allen Lew as its new CEO after six months of searching.