AWE And MTN Offer GSM On Cruise Ships

We noted a while back that, despite terrible quality and customer service, AT&T Wireless was actually one of the more innovative mobile phone companies in the US. Now here’s another innovative idea they are launching: Guests on Royal Caribbean cruise ships will be able to use their GSM phones on board using a cell tower aboard the ship. SMS, data services, and voice will all be possible, albeit at roaming rates. The service is powered by AWE and South African-based (but huge Africa-wide) carrier MTN. The two formed a partnership Wireless Maritime Services, which uses MTN’s satellite constellation for maritime backhaul. Recall that with poor in-ground infrastructure, African telcos rely heavily on satellite, giving them unique expertise for this sort of effort. Cingular will assume the AWE stake in the partnership. With phones on cruises, now how do you get away from it all?

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