Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a major provider of cellular communications services to cruise lines and ferry companies, announced today a 250 percent growth in its data traffic during 2009 through 2011. This comes in tandem with an increase in passenger and crew use of smartphones over the same period. As more and more people take their iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and tablets with them onboard, WMS said it has been at the forefront of delivering superior cellular data services to passengers, and onboard revenue to its business partners.

With 140 vessels contracted across 28 different cruise and ferry lines in North America, Europe and Asia carrying more than 245,000 passengers on any given day, WMS estimates that approximately 18 million users made use of its voice, SMS (text) and data services in 2011.

In addition to the growth in the number of passengers served and the data they’ve used, WMS has also experienced a jump in the number of crew members using its services.  CrewzFone, WMS’s SIM-based text and calling product designed and priced specifically for crew members, is now available on 72 ships with Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Pullmantur Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Star Cruises and TUI.  In total, more than 80,000 crew members now have access to CrewzFone every day when their ship is at sea.

Supporting this growth in passenger, crew and data traffic has been WMS focus on providing its customers the latest technology.  WMS has long provided technology and equipment that support the equivalent of 3G data connection speeds on select vessels. According to WMS, it was first in the industry to deploy 3G capability in a maritime environment. In fact, as Andy Hearn, president and CEO, commented: “3G is almost old news for WMS, having deployed EVDO technology (CDMA 3G) back in November 2010 on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Allure of the Seas. WMS is now preparing for rolling out UMTS (GSM 3G) on our fleet with a deployment road map scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2012.  We then expect a full 3G rollout in early 2013. It’s the natural progression from our 2.5G network.”

Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), is a major provider of maritime cellular phone service to the cruise ships and ferries.  With service onboard more than 140 ships around the globe, the company specializes in cellular at sea communications, including voice, text messaging, email and web browsing.  WMS technology allows cruise line and ferry passengers and crew to stay in touch with friends, family or business while at sea.  WMS has nearly 400 roaming agreements with mobile phone operators in 147 countries around the globe.