Singapore (PRWEB) September 26, 2008
Inmarsat announced today that it is to expand its FleetBroadband family to offer an entry-level, globally deployable, combined voice and data service targeted at small vessels. The new service, FB150, will deliver voice, IP data up to 150kbps and SMS, and is planned to be available by mid-2009.
Inmarsat has developed the new service to address the needs of smaller leisure, fishing and commercial vessels with lower data requirements than the high performance FB250 and FB500. FB150 will offer a voice connection at landline quality, accessible simultaneously with internet-capable IP data and simple-to-use SMS. The first manufacturers of FB150 hardware will be Thrane & Thrane and AddValue, which is partnering with SpaceCom for antenna production.
FB150 hardware costs and service charges will be priced competitively for the target markets. "Inmarsat and the FB150 manufacturers are committed to ensuring the terminal pricing will address the needs of the sub-$5000 hardware sector," said Piers Cunningham, Head of Maritime Business at Inmarsat. "Owners of smaller vessels want to explore the benefits of internet access through FleetBroadband's IP data capability, and they want a service that is priced accordingly. FB150 will address these requirements in a package suitable for use onboard smaller maritime platforms."
The FB150 above-deck antenna unit, as with the FB250, will be highly compact and easy to install. The below decks unit will be similarly scaled and offer standard interfaces to allow quick and easy connection to PCs and 'off the shelf' peripheral services. "The contractual arrangements between Inmarsat and the manufacturers include specific and significant schedule performance incentives. We are confident that compact, reliable and highly-capable terminals will be in the marketplace by the middle of next year," he said.
"Thanks to our close collaboration with Inmarsat we were first to market with the full FleetBroadband range including both the FB250 and FB500 terminals, and are committed to ensuring cost-effective, high-quality terminals are available for when the new FB150 service goes live," said Casper Jensen, Director, Maritime Global Marketing, Thrane & Thrane. "Feedback on our FleetBroadband terminals has so far been extremely positive, with their reliability and ease of use highlighted by many customers, and our development team has ensured that these key attributes have been carried across to the new SAILOR FB150 terminal."
"Addvalue is very excited to be contributing its manufacturing knowledge and product development expertise from the Inmarsat terminal sector to the success story that is FleetBroadband," said Mr Tan Khai Pang, Director and CTO of Addvalue Technologies Ltd. "We are guided in the maritime field by new commercial developments, such as partnering with Satlink, the leading company in the fishing communications industry."
"Part of our long-term development plan for FleetBroadband was to bring the benefits of our optimised and proven IP network, into a low-cost package that maintains our high standard," said Piers. "FB150 will deliver to small fishing and leisure vessels the same quality of service that large international merchant fleets expect from Inmarsat.
"Since we launched FleetBroadband, less than a year ago, the take-up has been stronger than expected," he said. "We have seen first hand that the service makes a significant contribution to shipping businesses, and we are excited to offer those same advantages to smaller vessels."
Note to Editors
AddValue is a Singapore-based manufacturer that currently produces an Inmarsat BGAN terminal. Its manufacture of FleetBroadband hardware follows an OEM agreement with Satlink.
Inmarsat plc (LSE: ISAT) is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organisations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. The company's services are delivered through a global network of more than 500 distribution partners and service providers operating in 180 countries. For the year ended 31 December 2007, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$ 576.5 million. More information can be found at http://www.inmarsat.com.
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