Stratos/BOW Deal Brings GSM to Seafarers

Stratos Global Corporation, which provides mobile and fixed-site remote communications solutions, has reached a distribution agreement with Blue Ocean Wireless (BOW) that will enable ship managers to deploy GSM services via Inmarsat FleetBroadband satellite terminals.
FleetBroadband from Stratos provides high-speed data and voice communications, available simultaneously, at speeds up to 432kpbs, with on-demand guaranteed IP data rates, regardless of the vessel's location.
Under the terms of the agreement, Stratos will resell BOW's GSM service to existing Stratos customers, under the brand name BOW GSM Service from Stratos, in combination with other Stratos satellite-based services. The agreement also enables BOW to resell FleetBroadband from Stratos with its GSM solution, as part of a bundled service offering to non-Stratos customers. BOW will continue to support its existing GSM customers that use legacy Inmarsat services.
BOW GSM Service from Stratos is a dedicated GSM service for crew members and officers of merchant ships. It is the first service – using Inmarsat satellites – enabling seafarers to use their existing mobile phones onboard merchant ships in deep ocean waters, exactly as they would in port or on land.
Stratos says the service is ideally suited as a crew-calling solution, enabling users to receive and place calls and send SMS messages via their own GSM number. The service also provides reliable voice connectivity, enabling ship managers to quickly contact merchant maritime officers. In the future, Stratos says it expects to expand the capabilities of BOW GSM Service from Stratos to include email and web browsing from the mobile phone.
BOW GSM Service from Stratos uses an onboard pico cell, gateway and a FleetBroadband terminal, which also can be used for commercial traffic. Crew members and officers pay a per-minute charge for the service, as part of a pre-paid solution. Billing for all crew GSM calls is kept separate from the vessel's commercial airtime.