December 16, 2003

Enhanced performance for Fleet F33

Inmarsat and Nera have announced a significant upgrade to the Fleet F33 system to include integrated compression within the terminal's dial-up data channel.

Fleet F33, launched in April 2003, already delivers voice in the global beam areas, Group 3 fax and dial-up data at 9.6 kbit/s in the spot beam areas. The new enhancement will apply the latest modem compression standards to Fleet F33, currently provided by Nera SatCom of Norway, increasing the data throughput by up to seven times.

The combination of this performance upgrade with the small size and low weight of Fleet F33 equipment will be of particular benefit to vessels in the leisure, fishing, coastal and patrol sectors. The added compression will enable smaller vessels to take advantage of the first data solution to offer higher speeds without compromising on the vessel's real-estate.

Users will not need to run specialist software in order to activate the data acceleration, and will not have to contact their service provider to arrange the set up. The increased throughput is provided through a fully-integrated channel function, delivered as standard to every Fleet F33 user.

Robert Johnson, Director of Maritime and Aeronautical Business at Inmarsat, said: "Fleet F33 already offers a unique package of services, which had only previously been available on larger, higher-cost systems. Now we are taking this a step further: a significant acceleration in throughput that is fully integrated and transparent to the maritime user. Inmarsat's continuing commitment is to provide enhanced data services via the Fleet range, delivering higher data value to maritime users. There is no additional charge to access this new feature."

Ottar Bjaastad, Maritime Business Manager at Nera, said: "Users of Fleet F33 have been highly impressed by the versatile services offered in this compact terminal. Now, with integrated compression, F33 users can experience effective throughput of 40 kbit/s and above, from the smallest terminal in the Fleet range."

With the enhanced, accelerated data delivery of Fleet F33, maritime users are even better equipped for email and online services such as Internet access, from within the service's extensive spot beam coverage areas.

The Inmarsat Fleet range includes three services: Fleet F77, F55 and F33--each delivering global voice and a range of data services. Fleet F33, the smallest terminal in the range, will be further enhanced in early 2004 with the addition of InmarsatŐs Mobile Packet Data Service, allowing data access chargeable by volume of data instead of time, and an "always-on" connection option. Existing terminals will be upgradeable by means of a software update.

The modem compression standards used on Fleet F33 are V44 and V42bis. Compression rates are variable and depend on the type of data transferred.