Satellite telephony becomes cheaper

21 June, 2007 | Post your comment

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Thuraya, the United Arab Emirates-based satellite telecommunications company, is putting efforts into making its satellite phone services appealing to a wider audience. The new prepaid service program comes under the name "ThurayaECO", which sets focus on their affordable aspect. The new prepaid plan will introduce a SIM card that costs only 5 US dollars instead of 99 US dollars and will offer call prices of US$ 0.20-0.39 per minute. The satellite services are available in a large number of European and African countries as well as some Asian ones and these new charge rates are expected to be able to rival the GSM rates with success.

Currently, Thuraya offers a choice of three satellite handhelds, with one of them being the Thuraya SG-2520 which combines both satellite calling capabilities plus tri-band GSM. The handset also supports the ThurayaGmPRS service for enjoying mobile satellite internet-on-the-go.






Thuraya press release

ABU DHABI, June 17, 2007 - Embarking on a new plan to make satellite phones more attractive to the common people, Thuraya is re-launching its mobile satellite services with new low rates that are up to 70% cheaper than currently applied in 77 African, Asian and European countries around the world.

Branded as "ThurayaECO" to reflect its economical appeal, the new prepaid service has been designed to offer handheld satellite phone users in those countries a competitive, terrestrial-like price for a premium satellite service that provides an uninterrupted, blanket coverage not only in urban centres but also in remote and rural areas under Thuraya's footprint.

The new service, which is available in the 77 countries, will make major savings for telecom customers in the target markets. Compared to Thuraya's mainstream prepaid service, prices of ThurayaECO will be almost 70% cheaper for calls from Thuraya to Thuraya users and up to 55% lower for national calls (calls from Thuraya to any phone number within the same country). And for the international direct dialling (IDD) calls, prices will be up to 50% cheaper than those available in national markets, depending on the various destinations.

Under this innovative service, Thuraya-to-Thuraya calls will be charged at US$ 0.20 per minute, while both national and international calls from a Thuraya phone will be charged equally at the same low rate of US$ 0.39 per minute to any destination.

"As the leading regional mobile satellite operator covering an overwhelming majority of developing countries, we feel commitment and social responsibility towards enabling our communities and making access to modern telecom services within their reach," says Thuraya's CEO Mr. Yousuf Al Sayed.

"With this corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy in mind, and to ensure that Thuraya services are made affordable to the widest segments possible in developing countries, we have introduced a new SIM card that costs only US$ 5, compared to the existing US$ 99 SIM card denomination," added Thuraya's CEO.

Mr. Al Sayed reiterated that Thuraya, which has the world's largest subscriber base for satellite handheld services, is set to redefine satellite telecom offerings in its regional markets. "With ThurayaECO rate of US$ 0.20 per minute, a one-year valid SIM card that costs only US$ 5, and a vibrant full-featured 2nd generation mobile satellite phone that is identical to GSM in size and sleekness, Thuraya is galvanising demand on satellite phone service and transforming it from a niche product for the few, into an attractive down-to-earth option for most average people," he said.

The new US$ 5 SIM card will have a 12-month validity from the first call, contains a US$ 2 worth of airtime credit and can be annually renewed at a US$ 5 fee.

With ThurayaECO, Thuraya expects to significantly enhance the price perceptions of satellite telecom offerings which have prevailed in global and regional markets over the years.

According to an industry analyst, ThurayaECO prices are shockingly low for mobile satellite business and in most cases competes with GSM services in Europe even if you are not roaming. If compared to GSM roaming charges, GSM does not stand a chance. This should break open new markets.

The Company anticipates to see momentous adoption of its mobile satellite services following the introduction of very encouraging, and even more favourable, call tariffs compared to those offered by local GSM networks.

ThurayaECO prepaid service, which was officially started on 31st May 2007, is available in 49 European countries, 23 African countries and 5 Asian countries, as shown in this table: ThurayaECO prepaid service, which was officially started on 31st May 2007, is available in 49 European countries, 23 African countries and 5 Asian countries, as following:

Europe : Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Africa: Burundi, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Equatorial, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Oman, Syria, Kazakhstan

For more information, please visit Thuraya's website at: http://www.thuraya.com.