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Thuraya-3 launches into Asia-Pacific markets

Third satellite will allow Abu-Dhabi's Thuraya to expand its services across Asia.

Abu-Dhabi-based Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company, the world's largest provider of handheld mobile satellite services, is set to launch its third satellite, Thuraya-3, on Sunday.

The satellite, which will allow Thuraya expand its IP and telephony services into Asia, is being launched by US-based Sea Launch from a launch site on the equator in the Pacific ocean. Lift off is planned at the start of a 44-minute window, from 15:37 GMT.

Thuraya plans to start commercial operations in Asia-Pacific markets as early as January 2008. The company's expansion towards East Asia will allow it to provide voice, IP and rural telephony services to thousands of private, public and business customers in the densely populated Asian region.

"The launch of Thuraya-3 is a significant milestone in the company's progress towards realising its strategic vision of becoming a world leading, multi-regional mobile satellite operator," said Yousuf Al Sayed, CEO, Thuraya.

He added that the company has already completed all ground network preparations for Thuraya-3, and has set up commercial infrastructure with several partners in East Asia.

Once operational, the new satellite will double Thuraya's coverage to include all Asia-Pacific countries, allowing it to offer its handheld, fixed, broadband and maritime services in markets such as China, Japan, Australia, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Based on the 702 model, Thuraya-3 is the third and latest geo-mobile satellite manufactured by Boeing for Thuraya. The first two satellites, Thuraya-1 and 2, were the largest commercial satellites launched in 2000 and 2003 respectively.

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