Thuraya (Arabic: الثريا which is the Arabic name for the Pleiades) is a regional satellite phone provider. Its coverage area is most of Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia.
The company is based in the United Arab Emirates and distributes its products and service through authorized service providers. Its shareholders are a mixture of Middle Eastern and North African telcos (in which Etisalat is a major one) and investment companies.
The offer will satisfy especially these companies and private persons whose business activities range extends beyond European borders.
Thuraya Satellite Services
- Voice communications with handheld (Thuraya SO-2510, SG-2520, Hughes 7100 (discontinued) / 7101 and Ascom 21 (discontinued) or fixed terminals
- Short message service
- 9.6 kbit/s of data & fax service
- 60 kbit/s downlink and 15kbit/s uplink "GMPRS" mobile data service on SO and SG handsets
- High-speed data transfer via a notebook-sized terminal (ThurayaDSL and ThurayaIP)
- GPS is supported by all handsets
- A number of value-added services, such as news, call back, call waiting, missed calls, voicemail, WAP, etc.
- Prayer service: after sending the GPS position to a special number a reply is sent back containing exact prayer times and heading towards Mecca. Service available for Sunnis and Shiats
- A one-way 'high power alert' capability that notifies users of an incoming call, when the signal path to the satellite is obstructed (e.g. inside a building)
- Marine Services: a combination of a special (fixed) base station and subscription offering voice, fax, data and always on internet-access. Also an emergency service which, when activated, sends multiple SMS messages containing alarm-status and actual position to pre-defined destinations
All 5 Thuraya handsets (except for the SO-2510) have a dual-mode feature that allows them to operate in the Thuraya satellite network and GSM terrestrial mobile networks. Thuraya has concluded roaming agreements with over 200 wireless (cellular) operators around the world, providing its customers the ability of using their Thuraya phones outside the satellite coverage. The dual-mode feature of the handset is similar to the Telit (GSM/Satellite) and Qualcomm (CDMA/Satellite) handsets on the Globalstar system. Roaming for outgoing calls is only available for subscribers. For pre-pay (scratchcard) users of Thuraya roaming is only available for receiving incoming calls.
The satellite-only SO-2510 was released in November 2006. It has a colour screen and is claimed to be the smallest and lightest satellite phone in the world and uses the VxWorks operating system. The SG-2520 was released in early 2007, this is a dual-mode handset that also connects to GSM/GPRS services and is based on Windows CE and made by Apsat in South Korea. The device is slightly bigger than the SO-2510 but it also has a camera, GPS and support for SD Cards. The operating system is a rather customised version of Windows CE and is not at all like Windows Mobile. It has support for running Java J2ME applications only. Currently only the second generation handsets are on sale