Four of the top five major cruise companies have entered into long-term strategic framework agreements, with the majority extending through 2026 and beyond, for services delivered over SES’s next-generation O3b mPOWER communications system. These agreements will enable enhanced connectivity experiences onboard their current fleets as well as ships planned as part of their extensive new-build programmes, and result in a backlog of over €220 million.
SES says its advanced connectivity solutions will elevate guest connectivity to provide an ultimate digital immersive experience, enabling more wearable technologies and unlocking more personalised services. This reflects a major trend across the cruise industry and the priorities of leading cruise companies as they prepare to resume sailing. The latest contracts with SES Networks reinforce that SES is the clear market leader within the cruise connectivity segment, having secured significant market share of the cruise companies’ mega new-build ship programmes. Dating back to 2019, SES has provided over 13 Gbps – or 2/3 of the total capacity delivered to the cruise industry.
O3b mPOWER is SES’s global terabit-level scalable constellation that will operate in medium earth orbit (MEO) – or 8,000km away from earth. Based on the proven success of SES’s current O3b system, the new system provides an increase in flexibility and throughput and is capable of continuously delivering multiple gigabits per second to a single ship anywhere on earth during seasonal peaks and in areas of high density. O3b mPOWER’s advanced technical features, which include a “follow-the-ship” capability, allow for maximum efficiency in delivering the highest throughput available today wherever a ship is travelling.
With satellites scheduled to launch in late 2021 and service beginning in 2022, the high-performance connectivity delivered by O3b mPOWER will help the cruise industry to:
- Leverage a highly-resilient global network to deliver an always-on fibre-like connectivity experience
- Deliver seamless and secured access to cloud-based platforms and applications for shipboard productivity, passenger communications and entertainment
- Dynamically optimise the required bandwidth and increased connectivity to any ship wherever and whenever it may be
- Deliver fastest internet speeds at sea, resulting in truly immersive guest experiences
- Achieve cruise liners’ operational efficiencies by enabling real-time condition monitoring and other connected Operational Technology (OT)
“COVID-19 has been challenging for the cruise industry. At the same time, it has also enabled major players in the industry to re-strategise on their plans for the future and focus on technology-driven innovation and how they can outdo themselves in creating the best holiday experience for passengers, and high-performance connectivity is central to those strategies. We are pleased to be co-creating these advanced solutions along with our customers and ensuring we can meet their future needs,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks.