AUGUST 16, 2012 — MTN Satellite Communications (MTN) and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) have announced the availability of the Connect at Sea app, enabling cruise ship passengers and crew to make what are said to be "cost-effective" phone calls and send text messages from their personal Apple iOS or Android devices while at sea. They can also use Connect at Sea for intra-ship calling, enabling passengers to connect with their friends and family onboard to make plans or keep track of one another. Crew can leverage this feature call other vessels.
MTN and WMS say they have jointly developed a unique solution that not only offers a clear connection, but a service that works with a vessel's Wi-Fi infrastructure and uses a data/voice prioritization strategy for the maritime industry.
Connect at Sea is built for the maritime industry and delivers high voice quality while keeping bandwidth usage low. Customers do not have to purchase an Internet plan to use the app and can download it from iTunes or the Android store. The app also adds to any crew welfare initiative by offering a cost-effective way for families to communicate with their loved ones who are at sea for months at a time.
"The demands of today's cruisers are increasing and the industry is faced with the opportunity of bringing a solution similar to a land-based calling experience to the middle of the ocean for both passengers and crew," said Brent Horwitz, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cruise and Ferry Services at MTN Satellite Communications. "Passengers expect to be able to make calls from anywhere in the world without issue and crew require a service that allows them to stay connected with family and friends while at sea. This joint solution between MTN and WMS fulfills this important communications requirement."
"Customers want a choice of cost-effective mobile communication solutions as well as the convenience of using their personal device, and the Connect at Sea application meets that demand," said Jim McKenna, Vice President of Customer Support and Product Development at WMS. "After launching the industry's first 3G capabilities in the maritime environment in November 2010, the Connect at Sea application was the natural progression of our offerings to deliver capabilities that closely match passengers' calling experience on land. For those seeking more affordable pricing, Connect at Sea now provides it. For passengers who prefer simplicity, may not have a smartphone or would rather rely on the ease and convenience of their traditional way of calling, our standard cellular services remain firmly in place."