Thuraya expands reach into Russia

Abu Dhabi-based satellite telephone operator Thuraya is looking at expanding its coverage area into Russia. A new satellite, due for launch next year, would allow this to happen, but a stop-gap could be employed in the meantime.

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By  Alex Marklew Published  June 29, 2001

Thuraya, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite telephone company that launched commercial services last month, is planning on expanding its service reach into Russia.

The Russian financial daily paper Vedomosti reported that Thuraya had struck its first deal with a Russian service provider, TM SAT, although this has yet to be confirmed.

According to Vedomosti, both companies have said they will be offering services by the end of this year, although TM SAT has yet to acquire the blessing of the ministry of communications for the provision of a satellite-based mobile service.

Some members of the ministry have apparently questioned the need for such services in Russia.

The biggest hurdle Thuraya must overcome if it is to offer services in the former Soviet Union is technical. At present, its one satellite cannot reach any serious distance into Russia - northern Europe and central Asia is the best it can manage.

Thuraya is planning on launching a second satellite early next year, which would include most of Russia. In the meantime Thuraya-1's mirror could be adjusted to beam signals to Russia, losing some coverage of Africa in the process.

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