|Thuraya is a satellite phone service provider that covers most of Europe, the Middle East, Central, South and East Asia, North and Central Africa, Australia and some of the Pacific areas. This area (seen on the map below) is covered since March 2008. More information on countries within the coverage area, with details on some specific areas, can be found in the Thuraya 2008 coverage article. (The previous coverage area can be seen here).|
New coverage area
The Thuraya network uses at the moment three GEO satellites. The last one, Thuraya-3, was placed on geosynchronical transfer orbit on January 15th, 2008. It has become operational in March 2008.
Thuraya offers both voice and data services. The audio quality of the voice communication is comparable to GSM quality, while data transfers are up to 9.6 Kbps. Due to the fact that the Thuraya satellites are placed on high orbits, there is a noticable time delay in voice communication.
Most users will find Thuraya a cheaper alternative to other satellite phone service providers, though roaming into GSM networks (which is possible in the Thuraya network) can be quite expensive.
Thuraya offers handheld, vehicular and fixed satellite phones. The latest handhelds are the SO-2510 and SG-2520. Another still popular model is the Hughes 7101. Earlier handheld phones, such as the Hughes 7100 and Ascom 21 have been discontinued.