Thuraya names Algérie Télécom Satellite as first Skyphone distributor

Thuraya names Algérie Télécom Satellite as first Skyphone distributor

Thuraya, the mobile satellite communication arm of UAE satellite player Yahsat, announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its partnership with Algérie Télécom Satellite to become the authorised distributor of Thuraya’s new direct-to-device (D2D) satellite smartphone in Algeria.

Under the expanded partnership, Algérie Télécom Satellite – which currently sells Thuraya services in Algeria – will also distribute Thuraya’s new Skyphone through mobile network operators (MNOs) and other authorised distributors in Algeria.

Algérie Télécom Satellite is the first Thuraya partner to be named as an official Skyphone distributor since Thuraya unveiled the device at last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Skyphone is a 5G Android smartphone with two nano-SIM card slots for both terrestrial and satellite communications. It can also be used with SIM cards from mobile operators affiliated with Thuraya's roaming services, with over 370 partners in more than 170 countries.

At the device launch, Thuraya said the Skyphone is expected to be available through its distribution partners from September 2024.

The Skyphone is part of the first phase of Yahsat’s D2D strategy, dubbed Project Sky, under which Yahsat plans to offer voice and messaging capabilities later this year before releasing texting and IoT capabilities for smartphones in 2025. The first phase will use Yahsat’s Thuraya geostationary satellites including Thuraya-2, Thuraya-3 and Thuraya-4, the latter of which is expected to be launched later this year and enter service in 2025.

The second phase, “Project BlueStar”, aims to enable full D2D connectivity through a “scalable and sustainable satellite network”. Last month, Yahsat signed an MoU with UAE operator etisalat by e& to explore various initiatives and projects for Project Sky, including collaboration on “Yahsat ‘s planned Low Earth Orbit (LEO) D2D system”.


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