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Named after the Thuraya star cluster, and established in 1997, Thuraya is a regional satellite phone provider. Its coverage area includes most of Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia. The company was founded and is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Thuraya produces an assortment of satellite phones and terminals under their own brand, as well as their network being available through some phones built by third party companies. Thuraya distributes products and service through other companies who are listed as authorized service providers. Thuraya's products and satellites provide voice, data, fax, short messaging, and GPS to many Oil and Gas, Broadcast Media, Military, Maritime, Government, and Non-Government organizations within their coverage areas. These services are provided on what are some of the smallest and smartest mobile satellite handsets available on the market today. While these handsets are smaller, that is not their only difference from other satellite phone provider's handsets.
Thuraya was built with the idea of making a hybrid network which would allow users to connect to cellular towers when they were available and connect to the satellites when they were not. Thuraya phones offer dual mode handsets which work not only with the Thuraya satellites but on GSM networks as well. Almost all of Thuraya's mobile satellite handsets are built with this dual-mode feature. In order to facilitate the ability to connect to both networks, Thuraya has roaming agreements with cellular providers around the world. This means that subscribed Thuraya users have the ability to use their satellite phone as a regular cellphone when outside of the satellite coverage area. For pre-pay users, however, the roaming cellular feature is only available on incoming calls.