Satcom company Nelco, a Tata Group subsidiary, has become the first Indian company to be issued a licence by the Indian government to provide maritime satcom services in the country’s territorial waters.
Nelco says it will offer communications services at sea using transponder capacity on an ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) satellite, as well as through links with external global partners.
“Nelco is proud to announce the launch of its maritime communication services, enabling any maritime vessel sailing in Indian waters to have high quality, uninterrupted access to broadband internet,” said P J Nath, Managing Director and CEO of Nelco.
“We will also be offering a bouquet of digital services to cater to the needs of the various types of maritime vessels. Going forward we believe that we will be able to fully meet the communication needs of the maritime industry with our comprehensive solutions.”
In December 2018, the Government of India announced plans to grant licences for In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC) that would allow providers to offer voice and internet services to users flying in Indian skies or sailing in Indian waters, aimed at both international and Indian aircraft and vessels.
With its licence granted, Nelco says that it plans to establish itself in the maritime communications space over the next 24 months by introducing its services to Indian shipping companies and to international ships operating via India. In the short time since the licence was announced the company has already confirmed the signing of a satcom contract with an unnamed Indian cruise line, in partnership with global VSAT provider Speedcast.
The cruise ship will sail initially in India before proceeding to the Middle East, and will have access to seamless Ku-band connectivity in and out of Indian waters provided by both Speedcast and Nelco.
“The Indian Cruise market is growing at a rapid rate and we are proud to have the global reach and strategic partnership with Nelco, to be the first provider of seamless connectivity for ships entering and exiting Indian waters,” said Brent Horwitz, Speedcast’s SVP of Cruise and Ferry.
“The challenge of maintaining uninterrupted communications in that region has always been one of our customers’ key pain points. Our unique proposition to supply reliable communication solutions to ships sailing in and out of Indian waters fits Indian Cruise operators’ connectivity needs very well.”
“We expect more ships will sign up for our services, as there is a high demand for truly global and reliable broadband service onboard.”