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Thuraya unveils dual satellite and GSM handset

Rugged device allows satellite voice and data service and roaming in 154 countries

Thuraya unveils dual satellite and GSM handset
Earlier versions of the XT handset have proved popular.

UAE satellite operator Thuraya has launched a satellite handset that also offers GSM roaming coverage in more than 150 countries.

The XT-Dual, which was officially launched in Dubai today, operates as a standard GSM phone within the reach of terrestrial networks and switches to Thuraya's satellite network in unconnected areas.

Thuraya has GSM roaming agreements with 324 operators covering 154 countries, and the handset can operate on 900, 1800 and 1900 spectrum bands, giving it near global GSM capability, according to Ahmed Ali Al Shamsi, CTO, Thuraya.

The device has has a built-in web browser for internet access and offers the fastest data service on any satellite enabled handheld, at 60 kbps, according to Thuraya. It can also be connected to other devices such as laptops to give internet access.

The handset, which weighs 211 grams, is dust proof, splash proof and shock proof, and Thuraya designed the LCD display to be visible in bright sunlight.

The XT-Dual Dual, which is available with or without a camera, is aimed at frequent travelers, businessmen, and people who work in various industries including media and oil and gas.

Al Shamsi was unable to confirm the retail price of the device as this will be set by the company's distribution partners, but he said it "should be competitive". He added that the company expects to see strongest sales demand in Australia, Europe and Africa.

The battery can power the phone for about six hours worth of satellite calls, or up to 11 hours for GSM calls. It has a standby time of up to 160 hours.

The XT-DUAL offers GPS waypoint navigation and tracking capabilities to send automatic location updates by SMS. It also has an emergency function allowing the user to pre-set a message that can be sent to up to five contacts by pressing a single emergency button.

The phone supports twelve languages, has messaging via SMS, MMS, e-mail and fax, Bluetooth, an organiser, media center, and it supports Java, allowing external programs to be installed on the phone.

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