Second Thuraya This Year?
Thuraya will launch its second Boeing-built satellite by year end, increasing its subscriber capacity seven times, according to reports out of Abu Dhabi. The company’s first satellite, launched in October 2000, has a capacity of 300,000 subscribers and covers 99 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and South Asia. The second will have a capacity of 1.8 million subscribers.
Abu Dhabi-based Thuraya said it was pushing to expand its client base so that it could meet scheduled debt repayments in 2002 after last year’s poor start. Its subscriber numbers are also well off its own targets of 100,000 users by the end of last year, with the company blaming a nine-month delay in offering service as the reason.
The company is targeting 150,000 by the end of 2002. It is banking on demand in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to meet its target this year after registering only 14,000 users last year.
Thuraya says it needs 400,000 subscribers to break even. It currently has 20,000.