Thuraya Counting on 2012 To Be a Rebound Year

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Mobile satellite services operator Thuraya of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is counting on 2012 to be the company’s rebound year after a difficult period during which it lost subscribers and revenue, Thuraya Chief Executive Samer Halawi said.

Key to the company’s new strategy, he said, will be a focus on government markets and heavy users of Thuraya’s data service.

“Increasingly we have seen that our partners have started coming back,” Halawi said March 13 during the Satellite 2012 conference in Washington. During the conference and in an interview, Halawi said Thuraya “had had an over-reliance on voice. We are now more active with government IP and maritime customers.”

Thuraya operates two large L-band satellites in geostationary orbit that cover some 140 nations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Unlike some of its competitors, Thuraya has resisted the temptation to branch out into other radio frequencies such as S- or Ka-band.

“We remain focused on L-band,” Halawi said. “We had been going down a bit [in revenue]. We had seen some underperformance, for multiple reasons and in 2011 moved the focus to government markets. Our sales tripled in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

Meanwhile, the company announced April 2 that it had elected two independent members to its board of directors.

Michael Butler, the former president and chief operating officer of Inmarsat, and Lockheed Martin Global President Charles W. Moore will serve three-year terms.

Mohammad Omran, Thuraya’s chairman, said in a statement that Butler “has extensive leadership and business experience in the global market for mobile satellite communications” while Moore “brings vast experience in the defense sector.”