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.
Bilal El Hamoui, Chief Commercial Officer