London, Feb 4 (ANI): Irish mobile maritime communications company Blue Ocean Wireless has teamed up with picocell developer ip.access to develop a system that would enable mobile connectivity over the seas.
For crews that have been separated from their families for months on end, the ability to be able to make and receive calls from their mobiles will be a big boon.
Previously, merchant ship crews had to rely on expensive satellite phones.
The new system will also rely on satellite communication. A picocell, a small base station that extends mobile coverage, will be installed in accommodation areas of the ship.
According to a report in BBC News, connected to a remote gateway, it will convert a mobile call into a narrowband IP signal for transmission over the satellite network.
Picocells are increasingly being used to extend mobile coverage to places where exterior signals cannot penetrate, such as office buildings, ships and aircrafts.
UK-based ip.access has already done a series of deals which have put picocells onboard ferries and cruise liners.
Extending the service to merchant ships will "bring the benefits of mobile cellular communication to seafarers who spend so much time away from friends and family," said ip.access chief executive Stephen Mallinson.
Typically, such picocells are used by mobile operators on "terra firma" to boost indoor network coverage in buildings and for business customers in offices.
But, anywhere where traditional GSM coverage is difficult, could potentially be a candidate for using picocells. (ANI)