MTN Satellite Communications has been the pioneer in at-sea communication networks for over 30 years. They are the ones who provide you with your internet connection on a Disney Cruise. If you’ve ever tried to use the ship’s internet at sea you are quickly taken back to the good ole days of dial up, if you are lucky. Personally, I love cruising because it helps me unplug for a week, but sometimes we cannot help it, we need to get on the net for one reason or another.
With increased customer demands for 24/7 connectivity, and the ever changing way we use technology the cruise industry was scrambling for a solution. MTN Nexus promises to bring the land based experience to the sea via a hybrid network of satellites and terrestrial wireless solutions.
MTN worked with Intelsat to engineer a satellite capable of delivering 500 Mbps per beam in the Caribbean. While at sea, the ships will rely on these satellites, but starting as far away as 50 miles offshore ships will seamlessly switch to terrestrial wireless solutions for connectivity.
MTN’s Connect at Sea voice app will provide a cost effective way for passengers and crew to use their own smartphones to communicate while on board using the WiFi network.
“There is no communication network like MTN Nexus in the world,” said Errol Olivier, CEO and president of MTN. “For 30 years, we have innovated new ways to deliver connectivity and content where no terrestrial wireless or wireline networks could connect vessels far out at sea. But passengers and crew no longer accept limitations – they want to stream video, post their updates on Facebook and share vacation images with friends … or even family members sailing with them on the same ship. MTN Nexus bridges the gap between land–based and sea–based connectivity and content delivery. Today, we are launching a solution that will enable our cruise partners to cater to their always–connected passengers and crew.”
MTN Nexus will deliver
- Internet & WiFi
- Voice Solutions
- Television | Streaming Video & Special Events
- Live Broadcasts
- Social Media
Don’t go getting your hopes up for fast internet on your next Disney Cruise, the first of MTN’s two new satellites is scheduled for launch over the Caribbean in 2015 with the second in 2016 over the Mediterranean. MTN is spending tens of millions of dollars to create this new network, and will also require an investment in new equipment by cruise lines to make use of this new technology. Intelsat has an iOS app to track their satellites.
While I enjoy my time being unplugged, it will be a nice addition to the overall cruise experience being able to live blog and post real-time updates. The only question will be the cost. I noticed in a screenshot of the ConnectedCruisers app the pricing options included 10 updates for $0.99 and unlimited updates up to 1 GB for $34.95 and 2 GB for $44.95.
This is app specific and more than likely just a mock up, but could provide a glimpse into possible data packages for regular WiFi.
I like the idea of buying data versus minutes and think 2GB for less than $50 for a 7 night cruise is quite reasonable. I’m not going to hold my breath on the plans and pricing as this will ultimately be set by Disney Cruise Line in order to make a profit. What do you feel is a reasonable data package?