MTN, BT Hook-Up Cruise Ships To Cell Phone Network

In a move which perhaps heralds the next plateau in at-sea communications. Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN) in Miami announced an innovative partnership in which its satellite communications network will be used for a new service developed and patented by BT A&M, BT's satellite communications division. Cruise Connect, as the new service will be dubbed, will enable passengers and staff on cruise ships to make and receive calls from cell phones at sea.

"MTN is excited to bring the extended convenience of connecting cellular networks with vessels served by MTN's global C-band network," said Bradford Briggs. MTN's senior vice president and general manager.

MTN is a leader in maritime communications, providing C-Band, voice, fax, data and internet communications to the cruise industry, the U.S. Navy, and to offshore oil and gas platforms around the world. MTN also provides ship-to-shore live video and radio broadcast capabilities in C-or Ku-Band.

The company — a subsidiary of ATC Teleports Inc.

of Fairfax, Va. — is on a strong growth pattern and has recently signed a five year lease on a 23,763-sq.- ft. building to expand its operations.

Cruise Connect functions via the installation of discrete, mini cellular stations installed on the vessels.

These stations are linked, via the MTN satellite communications network, to a mobile switching center within the land based cellular network. The system should prove desirable in many instances, as it allows the user to utilize their cell phones — to both make and receive calls to their normal number — as well as to receive billing via their regular statement.

It also will provide a valuable service, as the regular shipboard phones are disconnected the night before docking back at the homeport, so that billing can be reconciled by the morning disembarkation.

Circle 86 on Reader Service Card Comsat Expands Communications Pipeline Communications between ship and shore have evolved at light speed, driven by a handful of companies — new and old — which have persistently pushed the capabilities of satellite communications. A leader of this parade has surely been Comsat, which is one of the world's leading suppliers of global satellite services and digital networking services, products and technology.

Comsat offers a vast array of communication solutions, driven by and designed to fit owners' exacting needs, whether it be naval, commercial or offshore.

But Comsat has been far from passive in the advance- ment of communications at sea, and has introduced a number of services devised to illustrate to owners the cost and operational advantages of high volume, seamless communication solutions.

Chief among these are products geared to the quickly expanding cruise shipping market, a demanding market which requires high capacity and seamless communication systems for both passenger and crew purposes.

Comsat recently won a three-year contract with Cunard to provide worldwide data and voice satellite communications to Cunard's fleet of eight cruise ships.

In addition to services being provided via the Inmarsat satellite system, Comsat is also supplying a new 128 kbps C-Band service for the QE2, providing one of the most advanced shipboard satellite communication solutions available.

Circle 119 on Reader Service Card

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 59,  Apr 2000 voice and data transmission

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.