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Program: Thuraya

Thuraya means "Chandelier", a space constellation which used to serve as guide for ancient Arab travellers and sailors for ages.

Program of Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) telecommunications firm (60% government-owned) to launch a one billion dollar satellite system to boost its mobile telephones network. The operator is Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co. Other share holders include Arabsat, Hughes, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Co. Lybia's General Post and Telecommunication has a 5% stake in the project ($25 million). Total cost for the project as planned: $960 million. A consortium of local and international banks has arranged a US$600 million loan to finance the project.

The satellite system, named Thuraya, provides services to UAE users of Two-way mobile telephones compatible with the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). The system makes services available to remote sea and rural areas and covers most Arab states, parts of the Indian subcontinent and Europe. The country code in the phone system is +88216

The satellite is expected to handle between 1.75 million and 2.4 million subscribers by 2005. A second satellite would add another 40 percent capacity if demand required it (ground spare). Capacity for 13750 simultaneous voice circuits.

Thuraya Next Generation will have enhanced coverage with HTS services, 2 satellites to be ordered in 2019.

The company was acquired by Yahsat in 2018.

Status: started commercial service in July 2001

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