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Flat-fee unlimited VoIP at sea

Vobal Technologies has announced the launch of its 'On-Net' telephony service, which it says will allow commercial ship owners or operators to replace traditional satellite calls with unlimited VoIP or GSM calling for a flat monthly fee.

The service will be available to vessels equipped with Vobal’s S3 Maritime GSM or S2 VoIP systems (which both allow multiple voice calling capability).

Both products are compatible with all Inmarsat FleetBroadband terminals (without the need for firmware modifications) and VSAT terminals, including systems that switch between the two.

The S2 and S3 products were designed specifically for use on Inmarsat FleetBroadband Standard IP Data channels, but the company says they are also technically compatible with L-Band, Ka-Band or Ku-Band managed services which exercise failover routers.

Vobal’s systems provide up to eight concurrent voice calls, with unique international direct dialling numbers for each line, that can be integrated with a vessel’s PBX or analogue phones. Crew GSM mobile phones can also be facilitated onboard.

"Despite all the advances in maritime communications, the costs for shoreside correspondents to call Inmarsat equipped ships at sea have always been expensive," said Ronnie Raviv, COO of Vobal Technologies.

"Indeed, voice calls to ocean code 870 often cost several dollars per minute. Alternative single or two-stage dialling platforms require complicated dialling schemes and PIN codes – with only marginal cost savings. Vobal On-Net is a very low cost solution that’s easy to install and use."

Vobal Technologies says that it is providing the first commercial VoIP telephone service certified by Inmarsat to run over FleetBroadband’s Standard IP, and claims that its system only utilises 6 kbps of bandwidth, fully loaded (voice plus overhead).

As such Vobal says its service consumes less than 1 megabyte of data for every 20 minutes of voice traffic.

Vobal VoIP technology is also utilised by Global Marine Network’s Redport 'VoIP enabled' satellite routers, which include Vobal’s multi-voice and optional On-Net features.

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