Thuraya to launch third sat in January

22 Aug 2006

(Gulf News via NewsEdge) The UAE's Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co. will launch its third satellite in January, with commercial operations to begin three months later.

Thuraya chief commercial officer Saeed Al Hamli said the company was also opening an office in Singapore to focus on the Far East markets and Australia, which would come under the coverage of the third satellite.

"Thuraya 3 will bring within its coverage area Asian markets such as China, Japan, the Far East, Australia and some others, too. We are opening an office in Singapore to manage operations in that region," Al Hamli said.

Sea Launch Co. will launch the Boeing Satellite Systems-built satellite.

Thuraya 3 will replace the ageing Thuraya 1, while Thuraya 2 will continue providing coverage for the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and some other markets.

Thuraya is optimistic it will be competitive in the Far East where satellite services are already available.

"Competition is good, it leads to market awareness and provides choices to consumers. We will be able to penetrate into those markets," said Al Hamli.

Meanwhile, Korea's APSI delivered some second-generation handsets to Thuraya in July. The response to the handsets had been positive, following a workshop held for service providers, which included product testing, presentations and marketing strategies.

"The new handsets are meant for the local and overseas markets," said Al Hamli, without disclosing the number of handsets delivered.

Already, 360,000 of the company's handsets are in the market.

In Libya, Thuraya is awaiting final approval to launch its public call offices, having already done more than 500 installations there as part of plans to roll out 3,000 PCOs.

Thuraya has so far installed more than 6,000 PCOs in markets across the Middle East and Africa.

© 2006 Al Nisr Publishing LLC.

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