Wireless Maritime Services (WMS) has launched the second phase of 3G cellular data services onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
Having already launched EVDO in November 2010, WMS has followed that up with the launch of UMTS (3G) services. This marks the first time that both 3G services have been successfully deployed onboard cruise ships, and marks a major milestone in passenger connectivity.
EVDO stands for “evolution data only” which is the 3G path for CDMA carriers. UMTS stands for “universal mobile telephone service” and is the 3G path for GSM carriers.
Historically, cellular data connections onboard cruise ships at sea have been at GPRS (2G) or EDGE (2.5G) speeds, meaning downloads while web surfing or accessing emails have been at traditional dial up modem speeds which can reach up to 50k per data session.
Now with UMTS, passengers on these ships can enjoy download speeds four to six times that.
“It’s one thing to have UMTS work in a lab environment, it’s an entirely different and thrilling level of success to have it working as well is it is onboard these ships,” said Tony Patino, vice president of engineering at WMS. “Leveraging the expertise of our parent, AT&T, the WMS Engineering and Deployment teams have been working diligently to optimize and develop better use of parameters, finely honing our technology in order to achieve this great result.”
“WMS strives to be the absolute best cellular provider in the maritime industry, and we continually aim to deliver the most cutting edge technology and effortless experience for our cruise line partners and their passenger. We sincerely thank our partners at Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. for their help with allowing us to achieve this UMTS (3G) success. Working closely with Royal Caribbean, we were able to overcome significant technical hurdles that, up until now, no one else had been able to” added Pramod Arora, WMS’ chief operating officer.
The deployment of 3G data services now allow guests to use their own mobile devices to access email, use applications on their smart phones and surf the web at greatly increased connection speeds.
WMS recently announced the signing of a new four-year contract renewing its relationship with Royal Caribbean Cruises continue providing cellular at sea wireless services to guests and crew on all existing ships across the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises brands.