At 5108 kg. (11,260 lb.), the Thuraya-1 satellite was the largest to launch on the Zenit-3SL to date, and is the Middle East's first mobile telecommunications satellite. Beginning in 2001, Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company will offer regional mobile coverage to 99 countries spanning the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, central Asia, north and central Africa and Europe. The Abu Dhabi-based company is planning cost-effective satellite-based mobile telephone services using dual-mode handsets and satellite payphones. Services will include telephone, voice mail, Interactive Voice Response, data, fax and GPS for more than 1.8 billion people.
Boeing Satellite Systems (previously, Hughes Space and Communications Company), the world's largest manufacturer of geosynchronous commercial communications satellites, built the HS-GEM (geosynchronous-mobile) model spacecraft in El Segundo, Calif. The Boeing geomobile satellite system features a 12.25-meter deployable antenna, and onboard digital signal processing and beamforming. It is a mobile-communications-supporting satellite system that integrates a Boeing geosynchronous-orbit satellite with a ground segment and a user terminal segment. The Thuraya ground segment includes terrestrial gateways plus a co-located network operations center and satellite control facility in the United Arab Emirates.
See http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/space/bss/qtmovies/hsgem_deploy.mov for deployment sequence animation.