Seamen can now use their existing mobile phones in exactly the same way that they would in port or on land to communicate with family and friends.
The advance has been made possible by Blue Ocean Wireless, a GSM provider for the deep-sea merchant maritime sector, which is using Cambridge-based ip.access’ nanoGSM system to deliver the mobile phone service to merchant seafarers.
Using the cellular signal generated by the ip.access nanoGSM picocell, crew members can use their own standard GSM phones to make and receive calls and SMS messages while on board.
The nanoGSM picocell is typically installed in the accommodation areas. It is connected to a Remote Gateway that converts the cellular call into a narrowband IP signal for transmission over a satellite network, via a satellite terminal, using L, Ku or C band technology.
Importantly, the Blue Ocean Wireless system manages the operational cost by minimising the IP bandwidth used to connect to the satellite network and transmit the call. It also ensures that the satellite connection is not left ‘on’ when there are no calls in progress.
Blue Ocean Wireless is an Irish company founded in March 2007 by Irish private equity firm Claret Capital to provide GSM connectivity for seafarers in deep ocean water where no other network exists. This allows users to make and receive voice calls, send and receive SMS text messages and, in time, will allow them to browse the internet using their existing handsets.