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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Boeing Satellite Systems, a unit of Boeing Co., has won a contract to build a third satellite for the Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co., Thuraya said Wednesday. The size of the contract wasn't disclosed.

The United Arab Emirates company in 1997 hired Boeing to build, insure and launch Thuraya's first satellite, manufacture 235,000 satellite handsets and construct the network's primary gateway facilities in the U.A.E. emirate of Sharjah, a Thuraya spokesman said.

The launch and insurance of Thuraya's second satellite, scheduled for January 2003, is part of a separate contract. Thuraya-2 will join the same orbital slot as Thuraya-1, which was launched in October 2000.

Thuraya's satellite network encompasses 106 countries in Europe, North and Central Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia, reaching 2.3 billion people.

Since 2001, the company has sold 65,000 handsets and logged 6.5 million phone-call minutes.

Emirates Telecommunications Corp., or Etisalat, is the majority shareholder of Thuraya. Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc., the manufacturing arm of Boeing Space and Communications, holds a 2 percent stake in the company.