Thuraya, the Arabic name of 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.
A characteristic of Thuraya is that the coverage area of the geosynchronous satellites is divided into up to 200 Spot Beams; allocation of the telephone to the correct Spot Beam takes place on the basis of the GPS position of the telephone. In areas of poor reception, such as inside buildings, or where there are line-of-sight obstructions, if a call is not connected to the Thuraya phone on the first attempt, a high-power ” Sat Alert” – Channel sends an alarm signal, so that users can move into an area with a clear view of the satellite (in Europe mostly to the southeast). The telephone connects to an assigned Spot Beam, frequency and time code, according to the GPS position. The coverage zones, and supported number of users (up to 13,750 simultaneous voice circuits,) can be controlled by changes of the Spot Beam configuration
The Thuraya satellites are positioned in a geosynchronous orbit about 36,000 km over the equator, Thuraya-2 at 44Â°E and Thuraya-3 at 98.5Â°E. The satellites were manufactured by Boeing (Hughes) and, with a takeoff weight of more than 5.1 tons, rank among the heaviest communication satellites world-wide. They were launched with Zenit-3SL (Sea Launch) rockets. The antenna has a diameter of 12.25 meters. Due to the size of the antenna and high transmitted power, as well as high receiver sensitivity, the mobile phones can be relatively small. A directional antenna with a narrow reception angle, as in the Inmarsat net, is not necessary; the antenna only needs to be aimed toward the satellite.
Due to the satellites not being in geostationary, but in geosynchronous orbits, their apparent location in the sky is not fixed and changes over the course of a day.
Calls from Thuraya satellite telephone to Thuraya satellite telephone go directly through the satellite system and don’t “touch” the ground on the way. Only calls from fixed networks to the Thuraya satellite telephone, or vice versa, go through the ground station in Sharjah.
Thuraya’s country calling code is +882 16, which is part of the ITU-T International Networks numbering group.
The advantage of the Thuraya satellite mobiles is in fact that they work also in the normal GSM network (900 MHz with older and/or 900/1800/1900 MHz with newer devices).
Additionally Thuraya mobile phones have a GPS receiver, with which the telephone position can be determined precisely.
In the following countries Thuraya can be used:
Afghanistan – Albania – Algeria – Andorra – Angola – Armenia – Austria – Azerbaijan
Bahrain – Bangladesh – Belarus – Belgium – Benin – Bhutan – Bosnia Herzegovina – Bulgaria – Burkina Faso – Burundi
Cameroon – Central African Republic – Chad – Congo – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic
DR Congo – Denmark – Djibouti
Egypt – Equatorial Guinea – Eritrea – Estonia – Ethiopia
France – Finland
Gabon – Gambia – Georgia – Germany – Ghana – Gibraltar – Greece – Guernsey – Guinea – Guinea Bissau
India – Iran – Iraq – Ireland – Isle of Man – Italy – Ivory Coast
Jersey – Jordan
Kenya – Kazakhstan – Kuwait – Kyrghyzstan
Latvia – Lebanon – Liberia – Libya – Liechtenstein – Lithuania – Luxembourg
Macedonia – Malawi – Maldives – Mali – Malta – Mauritania – Moldova – Monaco – Montenegro – Morocco
Nepal – Netherlands – Niger – Nigeria – Norway
Pakistan – Palestine – Poland – Portugal
Romania – Rwanda – Russia
San Marino – Saudi Arabia – Senegal – Serbia – Seychelles – Sierra Leone – Slovakia – Slovenia – Somalia – Spain -Sri Lanka – Sudan – Sweden – Switzerland – Syria
Tajikistan – Tanzania – Togo – Tunisia – Turkey – Turkmenistan
Uganda – Ukraine – United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom – Uzbekistan