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Thuraya is the name of a satellite telecommunications company that
provides satellite telephone services to over 100 countries through the
use of a mobile phone that combines satellite, GSM and GPS.
Thuraya is basically a consortium of 21 prominent national
telecommunications operators and investment houses that was
established in April of 1997 in the UAE.
Thuraya's aim was to create a network that provides seamless
coverage in the realm of mobile telecommunications. The network
was designed to provide coverage for 2.3 billion people inhabiting
Europe, North and Central Africa, the Middle East, the CIS countries
and South Asia. Thuraya's network also covers areas such as the
Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea, the North Sea,
the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and part of the
Indian Ocean. Below is a global map showing Thuraya's coverage area:
(Courtesy of Thuraya satellite telecommunications)
Like all satellite-based phone services, Thuraya's service stands out
from terrestrial-based cellular networks in that it provides coast to
coast coverage. was established to meet a demand for seamless
coverage of mobile telecommunications. Its mission is to provide
uninterrupted, telecommunications services to a vast region inhabited
by 2.3 billion people.
Thuraya's satellite telecommunications service differs from other
satellite phone services in the market because of the integration of
GSM, GPS, and satellite technology all into one phone. Other
features of Thuraya's handsets are the capability of voice, data,
facsimile, messaging and local determination (GPS). These features
allow the user the flexibility of using a local GSM network when
available, and then switching to the satellite phone mode when
terrestrial cellular and fixed infrastructures are not available. On the
occasion that a user is beyond Thuraya's coverage area, subscribers
have the further option of being able to roam on other GSM networks
Most users of Thuraya's satellite telecommunication service are
regional roamers, travellers, international transportation fleets, rescue
crews and even workers of remote industrial sites just to name a few.
Suffice to say, there are a wide range of users out there.
Below is a list of the services offered by Thuraya's satellite telephone
Voice telephonyShort Messaging
Voice telephonyLocation Determination
Voice telephonyEmergency Services
Voice telephonyHigh Power Alerting
As part of its satellite telecommunications service, Thuraya offers the
Free Voice Mail Service Subscription
Voice Mail is given to subscribers free of charge. They also have the
option of listening to their voice mail on their Thuraya handsets.
There is a fee however attached for each call made by the subscriber
to his/her voice mailbox. Subscribers are charged at the rate of
'Thuraya to Thuraya call' for every message.
Thuraya offers SMS (Short Message Service) in its handheld phones
in English, Italian, French and German.
The Thuraya satellite-GSM phone can be used to send data and fax.
This is accomplished by connecting the Thuraya phone via data cable
to a laptop computer or PC. This feature opens the door to sending
and receiving data and fax using satellite connection. This is a
valuable feature in areas where there is no terrestrial
telecommunication infrastructure of any kind
Downloading of Ringing Tones via SMS
Ring tones can be downloaded via SMS or a download cable linking
the handset to a computer. Thuraya's handset comes preloaded with
sixteen ring tones. This new feature will allow the user to download up
to 10 of the 16 ring tones on the handset.
GPS Distance and Direction Display
Thuraya's mobile handsets all come with "GPS distance and direction
display" as a standard feature. This feature in essence converts the
handset into a GPS receiver.
Thuraya now offers Wireless Application Protocol in its mobile
Display Additional Languages
This feature allows the Thuraya user to customize their phones to
display the language of their preference on the micro browser. Users
will be able to switch their phone to additional languages such as
Turkish, Arabic, Farsi, Russian, and Hindi very easily.
Rigorous Testing in harsh operating conditions
The Thuraya satellite phone has been successfully tested by Andre
Jahn of Ascom in the Swiss Alps (one of the coldest regions of
Europe). The successful testing exceeded expectations, and show
just how rugged and resilient the mobile handsets to some of the
harshest conditions in the world.