Fleet LTE hybrid GSM/satellite service to add Gulf of Mexico coverage

Inmarsat is set to extend coverage for its combined GSM and satellite Fleet LTE service to offshore service vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, following the completion of successful trials of the service with V.Ships Offshore in its initial launch area in the North Sea.

The North Sea trials were undertaken earlier this year in conjunction with Inmarsat service provider One Net, delivering hybrid connectivity via 4G plus satellite coverage on VSAT Ka-band, backed up by L-band where necessary. Running the different connectivity options through a single service offers the benefit of removing the possibility of dual billing or the risk of disconnection, Inmarsat says.

The extension of this service to the Gulf of Mexico builds on an existing agreement already in place between Inmarsat and subsea fibre and offshore LTE network operator Tampnet, with the two firms partnering in November 2019 for the Fleet LTE North Sea service launch.

“We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the stability and quality of Fleet LTE service throughout the trial and the automatic and seamless switching between networks, which has removed the risk of any disconnection in service that would normally affect our day-to-day activities,” said Scott Bryce, Vessel Manager, V.Ships Offshore.

“The service plan flexibility has also given us the ability to move up and down plans when needed, to support our changing bandwidth demands, and there are no hidden admin fees to worry about.”

Inmarsat Fleet LTE is available in a range of service bands that deliver data speeds of up to 40 Mbps with a round trip delay of around 35-40ms. When LTE is not available, services automatically switch over to Ka-band Fleet Xpress with committed information rates, with FleetBroadband providing L-band backup as necessary.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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