Thuraya signs SPA with China Satellite

World's leading provider of mobile satellite services inks deal with China telecom.

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By  Edward Poultney Published  April 22, 2007

In a major boost to its Asia-Pacific business plan, Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co., the world's leading provider of mobile satellite handheld services, has signed a service provider agreement (SPA) with China Satellite Communications Global Ltd. (CSCG), a subsidiary of China Satcom which is one of the six main telecom operators in China with some 200 subsidiaries and 20,000 employees.

The SPA was signed in Beijing this week by Yousuf Al Sayed, CEO of Thuraya, and Lu Ruifeng, CEO of CSCG. This commercial alliance appoints CSCG as the sole service provider and distributor of Thuraya space-based products and services throughout China, including all promotional, marketing, sales and customer support aspects.

On a strategic level, Thuraya has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Satcom, to leverage portfolios and competitiveness of their respective satellite telecom services.

In a press statement following the signing ceremony, Thuraya CEO Al Sayed said: "We are pleased to have built this special and unique partnership with China Satcom, which is a highly advanced and reputable company in China and in the satellite telecom business." He also added that the agreement signing is considered to be a stepping stone in building a long-term and strong co-operation between the two companies, especially through the broad scope of the MoU.

On his part, Lu said Thuraya has versatile satellite capabilities and is aiming to cover two thirds of the global population with the launch of its third satellite later this year.

"The imminent introduction of Thuraya's services in the Asia-Pacific region will further enhance our ability to meet China's growing demand for reliable communication services, especially in the vast rural and remote areas of the country," he said.

"With its recently launched Gen-II products, namely the ‘smallest' and ‘smartest' handheld satellite phones, Thuraya will enrich the range of satellite telecom products and services offered by China Satcom," he said, elaborating that such products will be especially beneficial to the booming transport, maritime, oil and gas, and farming sectors.

The partnership agreement signed in China is part of Thuraya's efforts to have the commercial infrastructure in place before launching its new satellite, Thuraya-3, in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The SPA and MoU signed are seen to be part of an increasing mutual economical co-operation between the UAE and China. The UAE's Foreign Minister and a large delegation concluded a successful visit to China just last week, during which a number of mutual agreements were signed.

Incorporated in 2001, China Satcom is a state-owned company, managed by the Chinese Ministry of Information. The member enterprises of China Satcom include China Telecommunications Broadcast Satellite Corp., China Orient Telecommunications Satellite Company Co, Ltd., China Space Mobile Satellite Telecommunications Co, Ltd., China Posts & Telecommunications Translation Service Corp. and China Telecom (Hong Kong) Chinasat Corp.

It offers a range of satellite-enabled services in the areas of telecommunications, broadcast, MSS services, internet, VSAT, networking, 3.5G WLAN, 800MHz trunking services, data services based on GPS, audio, data and multimedia services based on satellite transmission technology.

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