There are two levels of FleetBroadband Multi-voice available: Standard, which supports up to four simultaneous calls from a FleetBroadband 150, 250 or 500; and Enhanced, which supports up to nine simultaneous calls on an FB250 or FB500.
“FleetBroadband Multi-voice is a unique integrated solution that maintains Inmarsat’s well-earned reputation for high-quality voice,” said Frank Coles, president, Inmarsat Maritime.
“It offers a far superior service to internet calling solutions, and is more cost-effective than accessing multiple voice calls on a standard VSAT.”
“This new capability increases the value of FleetBroadband, and ensures that the service is future-proofed for a vessel’s growing communications needs.”
Thrane & Thrane has already announced that the Multi-voice service will be available across its entire SAILOR FleetBroadband portfolio as standard, and is accessible on existing terminals with a software update.
SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband will offer the full nine simultaneous voice lines available through Multi-voice, while a SAILOR 250 FleetBroadband will offer up to six concurrent calls and a SAILOR 150 FleetBroadband up to four concurrent calls.
Once existing SAILOR users have the software update in place, all that is required is to configure their FleetBroadband terminal via the web-interface and attach the required number of handsets, or if desired connect an existing PBX.
Thrane is offering its own model of handset for use with the service, though third party equipment can also be used.
With the Thrane handsets a dedicated BGAN menu is available via the integrated screen, where value-added supplementary voice services, such as a phone book and call forwarding, can be operated from the handset itself.
“With multiple handsets integrated to a single terminal, facility for dedicated voice lines can be made anywhere on board, from the engine room or canteen on a merchant vessel and the public areas on a passenger vessel, to the saloon and staterooms aboard a luxury vessel,” said Casper Jensen, VP maritime business unit, Thrane & Thrane.
“Additionally, we have ensured that the SAILOR 3771 Alarm Panel FleetBroadband works alongside the Multi-voice service, ensuring that distress alarms can be sent, regardless of how many voice lines are being used.”
“Multi-voice will enable operators to offer even better crew and passenger welfare services, by increasing the number of telephone lines available on board. The design of SAILOR FleetBroadband allows Multi-voice functionality to be introduced without the need for engineers or hardware changes to the BDU, making it extremely straightforward to add extra voice lines.”
For FleetBroadband terminals other than the SAILOR range, Vocality has developed new PBX hardware that can be used alongside the terminal to access the additional telephone lines.
The extra phone lines will be charged by Inmarsat at the same per-minute tariff for both pre-paid and post-paid calls. The lines will also all support the free-of-charge ‘505’ FleetBroadband emergency calling capability that connects a vessel immediately to a Maritime Rescue Centre.