Telenor Maritime signed a five-year partnership contract with Polferries during this year’s SMM event.
The Norwegian satcoms company will deliver passenger services (wi-fi and mobile), as well as connectivity between ship and shore, to all five of Polferries’ vessels currently operating.
“The ferries are an important link between Sweden and Poland and carry large amounts of cargo and passengers between the two countries. Their ambition is to optimise and improve passenger experience by allowing passengers to use their phones, tablets, and laptops on board – both for business and leisure purposes,” said Roger Vimme, Telenor Maritime’s Sales Director Ferry.
Although Telenor Maritime does not set passenger retail prices for maritime roaming, Lars Erik Lunøe, Telenor Maritime CEO (pictured), said he believed that the prices will decrease as the usage increases.
“We see a substantial increase in data traffic. Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, the data usage has increased by 50%. People are used to having uninterrupted access to the internet, no matter where they are. The need for larger volumes of data at a lower price will increase by roughly 20% each year going forward, and we plan to increase the download speed from 450 MB per sec to 1 GB in four years,” he said.
The 4G mobile service on board Polferries’s vessels will be upgraded to 5G at a later date. However, even though internet speed at sea is still largely dependent on satellites, Telenor Maritime said that it is researching and testing ways to implement new technology to meet the demand of future passengers.
LEO (low earth orbit) satellites and 5G are promising technologies that will be able to mitigate challenges with latency and capacity that ‘ordinary’ geo-stationary satellites have today.
Telenor Maritime also said it will offer affordable wi-fi packages on board all Polferries’ ships. With wi-fi, passengers can surf the internet at a predictable, pre-paid price. Packages are purchased using an on board portal on the passengers’ personal devices.
This portal has become a central service for digitalising the passengers experience on board several European ferry companies, the company said.