Mobile satellite services (MSS) operator Thuraya Telecommunications Company is working with Filipino service partner Smart Communications to provide much needed communications support in the areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan. To date, the pair have reportedly already deployed more than 100 units of the proprietary Thuraya SF2500, SatSleeve and the Thuraya XT to government agencies as well as relief organisations such as the Red Cross, to help establish communication channels and facilitate relief efforts. Further, local press reports say that Smart has converted over 70 of its ‘Marino Phonepal, SF2500’ units for basic voice calling on land, which are being utilised as free call centres in over 27 municipalities.
Commenting on the tie-up, Smart representative Orlando Vea said, ‘Being based in the Philippines has enabled Smart to be one of the first responders after the typhoon struck. Almost immediately, we were able to reach out to government and relief organisations to help them assess the situation and work with them to establish their communication needs. With Thuraya’s help, we were also able to convert the Marino Phonepals into free call centres so that survivors can make contact with their loved ones. Satellite communications is vital in such situations and is one of the most impactful ways to ensure that relief efforts can be delivered as quickly as possible. We believe that there is still a lot to be done and continue to work with Thuraya to hasten the process as much as we can.’