Yahsat signs up etisalat by e& as first D2D strategy telco

04 April 2024

etisalat by e& has become the first telecom operator to partner with Yahsat for its Direct-to-Device (D2D) strategy to enable satellite connections for standard smartphones.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Yahsat and e& UAE will collaborate to explore various initiatives and projects for Yahsat’s planned D2D ecosystem, ‘Project Sky.’

“We are discussing a whole host of areas where we aim to collaborate, which includes developing the ecosystem,” said Yahsat group CEO Ali Al Hashemi in a joint statement, adding that the deal with e& UAE was “the first of many agreements we hope to reach with key industry players as part of our D2D strategy.”

Yahsat revealed its two-phase plan for Project Sky – which is designed to provide seamless connectivity (including voice, texting, and data) for smartphones, as well as IoT devices – last month.

In phase one, Yahsat will offer voice and messaging capabilities this year before releasing texting and IoT capabilities for smartphones in 2025. That 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. In Phase Two, called ‘Project BlueStar,’ the company aims to enable full direct-to-device connectivity through a scalable and sustainable satellite network.