Opening Message

When we held our annual Thuraya Partner Conference (TPC) last month, we reviewed our 2015 performance but kept the focus firmly on the future. Under the conference’s Seeing Beyond theme, we showed how our expanded product portfolio and recent results in key sectors have set us on the path for further growth.

While 2015 proved to be a challenging year for all operators, Thuraya remained true to its role as the industry’s innovators. We launched the world’s most advanced satellite phone, XT-PRO, and the new range of Thuraya SatSleeve products; secured 14% greater handset sales; and reaffirmed our handset leadership.

Last year also saw us drive 50% and 46% revenue growth in the key IP and maritime markets respectively. Demand from the NGO and government sectors helped drive IP revenues. New maritime business came from fisheries and coastal services, while broadband revenues surged from offshore vessels and crew calling. This stream of new business flows from our credibility as the source of genuine alternatives to the status quo. We have now crystalized this fact in our marketing campaigns, and will continue to drive visibility and awareness of the difference that Thuraya can make.

Indeed, our online support for maritime continues to drive traffic to our website, generating further interest and new leads. We will always highlight the many reasons for choosing Thuraya, especially with there being so many great opportunities to embrace in this market. 2016 is already proving to be another exciting year for maritime, and we are keen to explore joint marketing opportunities too.

This year is already notable for further new initiatives, such as the progression of our M2M strategy that was marked by the introduction of the Thuraya FT 2555 terminal. Through our partnership with ViaSat, we have secured quasi-global coverage and have entered the North American market. More products are planned for launch later this year, as we develop our three-tier strategy with a presence in the LDR and HDR segments of the M2M market as well. Working with service partners, we will focus considerable attention on M2M services across an ambitious, expanding portfolio.

At TPC, we were also able to share an updated view of Futura, our next generation plans. Jassem Nasser shared a presentation that confirmed the completion of the concept for our future capability plans, which gives us an exciting combination of continuity and expansion. The process is already underway to appoint the right consultancy company to validate the internal work needed to develop the system RFP and funding raising, and we will move to the next development phase within six months.

The concept itself ensures service continuity for current users, since L-band remains the main component: this range of spectrum addresses what customers and end users need across a range of sectors. We will extend our current proposition to reach a far wider base, though, with two further components. There’s the aggregation of high throughput satellite (HTS) services, with the capacity to cater for users with bandwidth hungry applications. There’s a terrestrial component too, which will let us penetrate the consumer market further with Thuraya SatSleeve and other devices. Mobility is the overarching trend, and we will meet customer demand through the combinations of these three components.

We are not confining our thinking to specific spectrum or technology, because it is important to be as flexible as we can in meeting future demand. So we are looking to deliver the combined provision of terrestrial and satellite services through one product, with hassle-free service delivery no matter where the user is located.

As well as next generation plans, we have new sectors to explore, giving us new opportunities to disrupt and challenge what is already available. We are committed to entering the aero market, for example, with our first product scheduled for commercial availability in early 2017. Development is well under way with SMP Aviation, working in partnership with the Aero Group. We will keep you updated on this exciting development at regular intervals through the rest of the year.

 

By:
Bilal El Hamoui, Chief Commercial Officer

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Giving back through Thuraya’s CSR Program

A cross section of colleagues from PGW and Head Office visited the Social Care Centre for Children in Al Nouf (Sharjah) on Thursday, 21 April.

The centre is home for 36 children, most of whom were eleven years old or younger. The Thuraya team spent time with them in the afternoon and evening, in the centre’s garden.

The children played on a bouncy castle and slide, enjoyed face painting and danced to music. Many of them joined in a lively game of football. The popcorn machine proved very popular, as did the dinner that followed later in the evening. The Thuraya team handed out goodie bags and toys at the end of the visit.

The Thuraya delegation was briefed about the Centre and the Social Services Department of the Government of Sharjah by Ms. Fatma Al Marzouqi, Head of the Centre. The Thuraya delegation presented her with mini i-Pads and laptops for the children, along with money donated by their colleagues, which will be used to buy clothes, beds and other equipment.  

 

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Opening Message

Our SatSleeve product family is gaining more consumer attention, as I witnessed at the Adventure Travel Conference in London at the end of January. 

There was considerable interest from tour operators and the media at the Adventure Travel Conference in London. It was great to see our SatSleeve+ on Click, the BBC News programme that is also shown several times on BBC World News. There’s certainly an appetite and interest out there for an easy-to-use device that allows you to use your smart phone to keep you in touch when you’re far from home. 

The second global Emergency Communications Conference in Kuwait was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our support for the ITU. This is a relationship that has now been running for ten years. We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the ITU and first responders wherever our support is needed. When we are called upon in the future as, alas, we know we will in response to crises or disasters to come, we hope the Tampere Convention will have been ratified more widely. Thuraya will then be able to plan and pre-deploy, which will help us save and improve even more lives than is possible with systems the way they are at present. Zahed Zaheer, our Senior Director, GMPCS Affairs shares his thoughts on this subject, among others, in his piece about the conference. 

We are improving the way we present ourselves online, with a new design and features for our website, www.thuraya.com. Our Marketing Communications team has been involved at every step of the process. Here, they share more details about what we have already done to provide a better web experience – as well as offering a glimpse or two of what is still to come.

We have an interesting case study to share about our support for the University of Michigan’s solar car team in the world challenge event in Australia. This intriguing race brings to mind images of sailing across the desert, such is the emphasis on navigation skills and journey calculation, with competitors striving for maximum performance. Thuraya was pleased to play its part, providing vital connectivity between vehicle, support team and beyond.

Atlas IP maritime broadband terminal is now on the market, and it is pleasing to see it already being taken up by a number of our partners. Thank you to all for your support. With the Atlas IP, we have reinforced the strength of our maritime portfolio, which offers unlimited and flexible contract periods and plans, tailored to specific needs and requirements. 

Finally, Marouane Sefiani takes us on a journey back to the enlightened times of ninth century Baghdad as he considers the best way to unlock the potential of the Internet of Things. It’s an intriguing read, and highlights the importance of collaboration and partnership. 

  

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Saving and Improving People’s Lives

The 2nd Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications (GET-2016) was held in Kuwait from 26- 28 January. The forum was organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications and Information Communications Technology (ICT) in collaboration with the Government of Kuwait.

The event was attended by telecom ministers, ICT regulators and policymakers, national disaster management stakeholders, private sector companies including major satellite operators, and NGOs, from all over the world. The Thuraya exhibition stand at the event was jointly managed by Thuraya and the National Satellite Telecommunications Services, (Thuraya’s Service Partner in Kuwait) and was frequently visited by high level dignitaries and potential customers.

The forum provided an opportunity for telecom regulators, policymakers and thought leaders to find a way of mobilizing new technologies to not only save lives, but to improve people’s lives.

The ITU launched two new initiatives at the forum - the ‘Network of Volunteers for Emergency Telecommunications’ and the ‘Global Emergency Fund for Rapid Response.’ The global ICT community were encouraged to step forward and take an active part in these two new initiatives.

The ITU Secretary General, the Director of the Telecom Development Bureau, and other senior officials of the ITU, highlighted the importance of its agreement with Thuraya to continue its support of emergency telecommunications while praising the effective role Thuraya terminals play when deployed as a response to emergency situations and disasters.

The forum also focused on a number of issues, trends and emerging technological innovations, financing mechanisms, case studies, as well as the challenges in deploying telecommunications/ICT for disaster response.

Christian Cull, Thuraya’s Vice-President of Marketing & Communications participated in two panel discussions which focused on the challenges and opportunities as a result of the effective use of ICTs. In both, the Leaders’ Dialogue discussion and the Role of the Private Sector and other non-state stakeholders’ panel, he focused on the importance of contributing to public safety and ensuring resilience, better preparedness, and timely intervention when disaster strikes.

Thuraya’s active participation in the work of the ITU’s Smart Sustainable Development Model (SSDM) initiative was also highlighted and well received. Our CEO, Samer Halawi, is a Board Member of the SSDM Initiative. The SSDM model focuses on optimizing the use of ICTs for socio-economic development and for disaster management leading to sustainable development.

Thuraya has worked with the ITU for ten years now, and is pleased to have made a difference in places around the world where help was needed most. It is a privilege to be able to save and improve lives, and we intend to work together for many years to come.

 

Zahid Zaheer
Senior Director, GMPCS Affairs
Thuraya

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Welcome to the New Thuraya.com!

A website is not a one-off event. It is a flexible, dynamic communications platform that should adapt with new browsing technologies and changing user behavior.

The project was by no means an easy task, but we pulled the trigger on Monday, January 11 with Phase I of our website redesign.  It involved the launch of three new sections:  the Home page, our new Developer Zone and a new section dedicated to M2M in the Products area. We rolled out a soft launch to allow us the time to work through any issues that might materialize moving from our staging environment to live. We have worked out the kinks and are happy to share with you the new features we believe will be a huge benefit to all.

Home Page

Our new home page features a cascade layout with exclusive sections on products, sectors, campaigns, CSR program, blogs and feeds from Twitter. It is graphics-rich with parallax scrolling that provides a more immersive user experience. This cool effect uses multiple backgrounds which seem to move at different speeds to create a sensation of depth (creating a faux-3D effect) and an interesting browsing experience.

A major advancement from the 2013 version is that we are now more socially connected, and have a unified look for all device types including desktops, smartphones and tablets. This brings consistency to Thuraya’s presence in the digital spectrum.

Developer Zone

It’s a question we get all the time. “We love your technology. Is there ANY way we could join hands with you to disrupt the satellite communications industry? Do you have an affiliate/developer program?”

The answer is “YES!” We are building a strong developer program that provides hardware and software platforms that make it easy for our partners to develop devices and applications.  Our objective is to quickly expand our portfolio of solutions via our partners while maintaining the quality of our services and products. We are excited to partner with innovative developers who want to associate themselves with Thuraya and our brand to bring ground-breaking solutions to market. See more.

We are also hard at work to expand this section of our website. So stay tuned! There is more to come.

M2M

M2M technologies are providing big growth opportunities for satcoms targeting specific vertical markets. The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly applying those technologies to more consumer oriented applications.  The new M2M section on Thuraya.com unveils our strategy for addressing this growing market, our key differentiators and a list of the market segments we are focusing on initially. What’s more, we describe our first M2M platform for development in order to recruit developers who specialize in developing market-specific M2M solutions. See more.

A Better Mobile Experience

There have been a lot of changes in the last couple of years in responsive design and mobile website experience. The new Thuraya.com is fully responsive and mobile-friendly. We hope you enjoy comfortably navigating the site no matter what platform, screen size, or device you happen to be using.

It’s NOT Over Yet

We’ve streamlined the new site to load on browsers as quickly as possible resulting in a much faster site. Phase II will be rolled out in March and will include a major upgrade to content – more on that in a later update.

Redesigning, reorganizing and updating the site has truly been a team effort, not just internally – but externally as well, with our service partner community rallying behind us with their feedback. We hope you enjoy the new pages and look forward to any comments or suggestions you may have for us! Do email us at corporatecomms@thuraya.com

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year, and thank you to our partners for helping make 2015 another groundbreaking year for Thuraya.

The year saw us expanding our portfolio as well as extending into several new areas. The XT-PRO and SatSleeve launches; the Expansys online distribution deal; the world’s first GSM + satellite voice package with Etisalat; extensive inroads secured in Africa with Airtel; the Digimed telemedicine solution; Starlight, the new gateway in Cyprus; and much more… there were highlights aplenty.

We have created substantial momentum for 2016. In addition to us focusing on our key growth areas of maritime, M2M, IP and government, you’ll see product, ecosystem and network strategies develop further, with many of you helping to make that happen.

We’ll continue to improve and evolve our newly launched Developer Program enabling our partners to shorten development cycles to bring products to market more quickly with high quality. Developer access to new, emerging hardware and software platforms will nurture greater affordability and ease-of-use too.

The Thuraya Innovation Center in the UAE offers access to our network, on-site technical expertise during the development phase, and hands-on experience with Thuraya development platforms and products. This gives our partners further assistance in getting new products to market.

The Thuraya M2M Beta Program has already made the FT2225 terminal available to application developers, service partners and systems integrators and will be commercially ready in early 2016.

The Thuraya VoIP service will offer a personal, single number to make end-users readily contactable on land and at sea, underlining our commitment to affordable and convenient services for end-users.

All that’s to come, and more, in an exciting 2016 for Thuraya. Meanwhile, this month’s newsletter explores differences already being made by the use of our technology, specifically in the Relief sector. Amal Ezzeddine, Senior Director Government Services, examines ways in which technology is re-shaping the communications landscape for relief operations. Then Najwa Ayoub, Market Development EMEA NGO\Relief\Media Manager, answers a Q&A about Thuraya’s support of those in need after the earthquake in Nepal.

We are also pleased to share a case study on establishing a reliable communications network for SOS Children’s Villages in the Central African Republic; and news about our support for the ambitious new crossing of the Empty Quarter in the deserts of the UAE.

Please feel free to send me feedback about how to improve our newsletter - and any suggestions you have about how we might build on our existing communications programme. 

Here's to a great 2016.  

Christian Cull
Vice President, Marketing & Communications

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How Technology is Re-shaping the Communications Landscape for Relief Operations

“As the space and satellite industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, Mobile Satellite Service operators are developing ways to prepare for and break through the complex barriers that will enable technology to reach and assist those in need of it most.”

Amal Ezzeddine, Senior Director Government Services

In times of natural disaster, conflict and disease, the need for vital information is essential and it saves lives. Looking at the natural disasters that have taken place over the years: typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; the Tsunami in Japan; earthquakes in Haiti, Pakistan, Nepal and China, access to telecommunication services has played a critical role in ensuring a community receives the support it needs.

In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: “…without direct collaboration with humanitarian organizations, volunteer and technical communities run the risk of mapping needs without being able to ensure that these needs can be met.”

So what steps does the satellite community need to take to prepare for the next natural disaster?

Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) operators must not wait for disaster to strike, before taking steps to help as collaboration on relief efforts cannot afford to be event driven. These steps include that equipment is ready and packaged to be deployed to working teams at short notice and rescue teams should be appropriately trained on the use of communication equipment. It is therefore crucial that this equipment is a part of drills, exercises and any training programs that rescuers undertake. Humanitarian teams need technical support and know-how where it matters most - on the ground. After all, time costs lives. There must be further collaboration and co-operation; and it needs to be continuous.

Because technology can help people in their greatest need, it is a huge responsibility to keep a reliable mission-critical network operational, and to maintain high-quality communications services where and when they are needed. For the satellite community to transform the humanitarian response further, technological advances, operational readiness, immediate transportation and deployment are of key importance.

It’s a well-known fact that, during an environmental or man-made crisis, terrestrial networks become unreliable for a number of reasons, such as congestion or infrastructure destruction. In these situations, NGOs frequently turn to MSS operators for the provision of what could be the only means of communicating with the outside world and for coordinating relief and appropriate responses. Satellite communication in these situations is simply more reliable than terrestrial networks.

Satellite communications are also the most easy to deploy in rural and remote areas. The satellite provides blanket coverage in any country irrespective of being an urban or rural area. End-user equipment and services including satellite handheld terminals for voice connectivity, data terminals for broadband connectivity, help establish effective communications to rural areas which in turn provides people with medical help, medicine, food and emergency communications. This is their main connection to the world. It is also a well-known and proven fact that the availability of Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in any area acts as a catalyst towards economic stability.

Most recently, a cost-effective DigiMed Solution launched by DigiGone came as a huge advancement in telemedicine. DigiMed bridges an information gap during crises by allowing real-time teleconferencing to take place between doctors and patients at the scene of an emergency. Such solutions continue to revolutionize the field of telemedicine and serve as a vital lifeline for organizations working out in the field or at sea. It provides critical voice communications for relief teams, weather, and mapping services – crucial activities for those working in disaster areas.


DigiMed

New and lightweight flying drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are also becoming more important in disaster relief. They can run reconnaissance missions in disaster zones, spot stranded people, map changed ground, and document areas that need attention. Drones help deliver communications quickly and efficiently, reaching disaster areas not accessible by road. With the right terminal, drones can take and send images and they can also check the quality of a network, or give the network a boost. Drones have already been used to deliver polio virus vaccinations in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan as they are capable of carrying up to 10kg in weight.

The intent is to create dependable solutions based on a deep understanding of SAR (search and rescue) requirements, and the environment out in the field. It is critical for those deployed in remote and often dangerous locations to be able to make timely informed decisions regarding SAR activities, emergency management and situational awareness.

Relief users require simple and seamless technology, which can function in the dusty terrains of North Africa or in the rainy tropics of the Philippines. While the satellite technology community has made huge strides in delivering life-saving services and products to them and to those affected by man-made and natural disasters, there is a lot more to be done and the community must continue to build on what has been learnt. 

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How satellite made a difference in Nepal

Almost a year after a massive earthquake struck at the heart of Nepal, the country is still trying to recover. Described as the worst earthquake to hit the area in the past 80 years, with more than 3,000 reported deaths by the United Nations (UN) and thousands of injuries and displacements, we take a look at the role Satellite Technology played in the days and months following the quake.

What is the story of Thuraya’s involvement in the Nepalese earthquake? When did Thuraya step into action in Nepal? What was the process leading up to involvement?

Thuraya’s mission has always been to save and improve lives and our mobile satellite network has played a critical role in times of disaster recovery and relief operations over the years. We are often the first deployed provider of communication services for said operations that fall within our coverage area.

We were heavily involved in disaster response efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in December 2013.
In 2012, The ITU presented us with a Humanitarian Award for our work in supporting communications during disaster recovery and other emergency situations in Japan, Pakistan, Uganda, Myanmar, China, Zambia and Bangladesh.

Nepal was no exception, when the news broke out about the strong and devastating quake we immediately activated our donation policy. We reached out to all of our partners and end users (NGOs, UN-ETC Emergency Telecommunication Cluster, First Responders and Search and rescue teams) to reassure them about the availability of our satellite service in covering the affected area through both data and voice.

We then deployed satellite mobile phones and Broadband terminals to aid in restoring critical communications and help coordinate relief efforts where terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure had been compromised or destroyed.

This deployment to international relief organizations who were on the ground in Nepal took place either directly or through Thuraya Service Partners. Thuraya’s local distributor in Nepal, Constellation, actively supported the deployment of Thuraya terminals.

Additionally, the ITU under its agreement with Thuraya immediately deployed Thuraya terminals to its responders on the ground.

How long was Thuraya active in the response?

Thuraya remained active during the initial few months until terrestrial telecommunications were restored.

Is Thuraya still involved in communications, or are emergency comms no longer needed? 

Thuraya is still heavily involved in Nepal by providing communications to humanitarian organizations who are working on CSR programs for rebuilding remote communities, schools and hospitals. One example of that is our donation to the Himalayanlife Humanitarian organization of a number of Thuraya handsets as well as free airtime.

The Himalayanlife Humanitarian Organization which relies on Thuraya’s donation for communications is currently working on rebuilding the infrastructure in Nepal and has already completed its work on the water canal which is the life line for the village/valley providing both water for rice fields as well as for the electric power plant. The work on schooling has also commenced although in a slightly different form. Due to the insecure paths through the mountains, instead of a central school for the whole valley the organization has now decided to start local schools in the villages themselves, one of them already being fully operational.

Another aspect of our involvement in Nepal, although not currently activated, will involve training and assisting the Nepalese first responders and municipalities on using our equipment and educating them about the importance of pre-deployment and preparedness. This will ultimately take place under the UN’s supervision and as part of the terms of the Crises Connectivity Charter that Thuraya signed in Geneva a few months ago.

Natural disasters are challenging in that they are all so different. What was a challenge that was unique to the situation in Nepal?

It is true that they are all different yet they all have one common element; access to telecommunication services is vital if a community is to get the support it needs.

A major challenge that always hinders quick response is getting equipment across borders, bureaucracy and process can slow things down, as can border controls. Fortunately, for Nepal this wasn’t an issue for us since we have a Service Partner in Katmandu that was able to deliver the equipment to the teams on the ground and helped coordinate with customs clearance.

However, a challenge we did face was the need to educate users in Nepal on how to use our handsets (i.e. handsets to be used outdoors-raise the antenna for signal and better reception – etc…). We eventually managed to overcome this challenge but we realized that SAR teams need to be well-trained, and they need to test their pre-deployed equipment frequently, for operational readiness.

In your opinion, has Nepal progressed in its preparedness for future disasters, or is this an area that needs more improvement?

Nepal is currently listed as one of the 20 areas prone to natural disasters by the UN-ETC-OCHA-ESOA Crises Connectivity Charter. As mentioned previously it is crucial to educate and train first responders, but for communications, pre-deployment is also a key factor that can save lives. 

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twitter - 328949386 - #Thuraya's #marine terminals operate on

 

2015: Year in Review

There are plenty of good things to look back on at Thuraya this year, even if 2015 has been a difficult year for the industry as a whole.

We launched a number of groundbreaking products, services and platforms in line with our long-term ambition to offer something really different at great value.

Launched right at the end of 2014, XT-LITE became the world’s most rapidly adopted satellite phone as sales rocketed through 2015. XT-LITE creates a new market segment with its potent combination of value and quality, and we have seen minutes of use stand at 10 times the levels of our previous flagship product, the Thuraya XT. There’s real demand out there.

Similarly, we launched XT-PRO, the world’s most advanced satellite phone. XT-PRO stands up to everything the world can throw at it. It’s consistent and reliable, rugged and robust. It resists dust and jet water, and it is shock proof with an uninterrupted signal. It lets you receive call notifications even when it’s in your pocket with your antenna stowed.

SatSleeve brought the Bring Your Own Device concept to the satellite market in 2013. SatSleeve is still the simplest, fastest way to own a satellite smartphone; but we made it even better – twice over, in fact – in 2015. First, with SatSleeve+, you get an even better sound quality routed through the smartphone, and a universal adaptor that lets you switch between various iOS and Android smartphone models.

Then there’s SatSleeve Hotspot – a portable satellite Wi-Fi hotspot that lets users make calls, send emails and check apps indoors, with the hotspot placed outside or at a window. We’re offering innovation and creativity, and an understanding of what our customers need. Users can choose a Thuraya SIM for coverage in 160 countries, or a GSM SIM card from more than 360 Thuraya roaming partners worldwide.

We then announced a distribution deal with UK-based global online retailer, Expansys, for the new SatSleeve products, which give retailers an exciting product to complement their smartphone offerings. As we now continue to expand our retail and online presence, we will develop create more products to serve new segments, as we extend our reach into consumer markets.

In 2014, Thuraya and Airtel Africa announced the launch of Thuraya’s mobile satellite products and services, spanning 12 countries in Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Airtel Africa’s customers now have access to voice communication, messaging, social media apps and broadband internet through Thuraya’s satellite solutions.

Our recent agreement with Airtel Ghana to deliver 100% connectivity through both mobile satellite and terrestrial coverage is a great example of how our partnership has progressed. Airtel Ghana’s enterprise team now deliver a full range of our satellite products including SatSleeve+, XT-LITE, XT-PRO and Thuraya IP+ broadband terminals.

Our technology saves and improves lives; and it can now help bring Ghanaians closer to one another, and to the outside world. Following our agreement to help bridge the digital divide for both individuals and businesses, Airtel Ghana now offers a bouquet of our services and products under communication, connectivity and collaborative solutions.  

The maritime sector is very important for us, and we offer a clear choice in a market where end users have been looking for a true alternative to what has been on the market before. The innovative Thuraya Calling Card is a dynamic market solution that reinforces value-for-money, convenience and versatility, for individual users and business managers.

Calling Card allows an entire crew to use their individual Calling Cards to make personal calls from a single phone, and it keeps business and personal calls separate. It’s great for crew welfare; and it allows managers and ship owners to monitor budgets effectively, as usage is charged to the Calling Card and not to a telephone account.

Our 75MB maritime broadband bundle offers flexibility and value-for-money too. These voice and data bundles with zero up-front fees on hardware delivers the best quality at the best rates. So ship owners and managers now have a real choice. The bundles are designed for those whose previous options were to buy a low-end plan, while having to use expensive out-of-bundle data, or a 250MB plan from other suppliers which inevitably ends up being wasted. It’s built to fit people’s individual needs. 

Our three broadband bundles range from SIM-only, to Orion IP and SF2500 hardware bundles – available on both 12 and 24-month contracts. These innovative packages are built for end-users at a time when the maritime communications landscape is experiencing rapid change and when the need for quality data connectivity at cheaper rates is of vital importance. The new bundle plans complement existing Thuraya plans, which offer flexible contracts and unlimited plans – ensuring best-in-class rates for broadband data.

When Thuraya’s CEO, Samer Halawi, was named Satellite Executive of the Year at this year’s Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Awards in Seoul, South Korea, it showed that Thuraya’s success is being recognized. This is very encouraging, because we want to make a difference in how we operate our business and a difference for others: Thuraya’s purpose to save and improve lives is a humbling responsibility, and it’s one we take very seriously.

On this note, it is important to help relief workers and first responders to connect and coordinate efforts during emergencies. That’s why we donated satellite phones to the International Telecommunications Union at the start of the year, as part of our commitment to help strengthen response and recovery mechanisms.

More recently, Thuraya signed a Crisis Connectivity Charter in Geneva under the umbrella of the EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA) and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF). This Charter takes us one step further towards working with governments and NGOs to deliver secure, reliable, and easily deployable, user-friendly solutions in the event of any disaster. That is an important step to take.

We also launched DigiMed, a telemedicine solution that assists teams working in remote areas. The cutting-edge DigiMed kit allows crucial face-to-face consultations between patients and doctors through ‘real-time’ teleconferencing enabled by Thuraya’s portfolio of broadband terminals. It is ideal for workers in the Relief, Marine and Enterprise sectors.

Thuraya has also created a new Developer Program that expands on our ecosystem plan and which generates new opportunities for partners. It will provide easy access to hardware and software development platforms along with the required documentation and support. It also aims to shorten the development cycle for Thuraya’s partners to get products to market faster, with an emphasis on creating more affordable and easy to use end-user products.

Earlier this year, the EMEA Satellite Operators Association welcomed operators from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States into its organization. This move highlights the importance of leading a coordinated and impactful response to the global challenges and opportunities we face – a critical digital divide, an increased demand for rich media video content and an increased take-up of mobile data services. Thuraya believes in the importance of operators coming together to preserve and secure the future of our sector and to define our shared visions and goals.

We are developing our expansionary plans too, increasing the scope of our business. We increased our geographical reach by launching Starlight, our new gateway in Cyprus, earlier this year, and we now look forward to launching our quasi-global M2M network with ViaSat later this year. Both of these initiatives will help generate new applications and opportunities for Thuraya and our partners. Concept work on our next generation planning is nearing completion too, and this will bring opportunities through new coverage and capabilities, efficiencies and greater scale.

As we embark on 2016, we look forward to making several new and exciting announcements as Thuraya continues to make its mark in the New Year with new products in new segments and with new partners.

Bilal El Hamoui
Chief Commercial Officer
Thuraya

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