Orange teams up with satellite firm SES to bolster maritime services
Orange has struck a deal with Luxembourg-based satellite company SES Networks to bolster its connectivity offer for the maritime industry. The French operator said integration of satellite connectivity from SES will afford a way for merchant shipping customers to utilise IoT-based sensing and AI-based sense-making technologies at sea.
It said it is integrating its “global infrastructure”, combining terrestrial cellular networks in certain markets, international roaming agreements, plus global edge and cloud resources, with the Skala Global Platform from SES, providing coverage via geostationary satellites and gateways interconnected by a global terrestrial network
Orange claimed the deal offers customers “seamless, ubiquitous, and global” broadband services – “everywhere, from developed markets to the hardest-to-reach places on Earth”. The maritime industry wants to connect devices and machines at sea to automate onboard processes to drive performance, efficiency and reliability.
A statement from Orange said: “This confirms Orange’s ambition to become a key player offering solutions for the maritime sector.” Orange already leverages the satellite firm’s O3b constellation, operating in medium earth orbit (MEO), as well as its geostationary satellites to deliver broadband services to mining customers.
It has also been using the company’s satellites to in-fill international connectivity, as required, and to deploy cellular across remote areas in Africa. Orange is the first operator to adopt the O3b mPOWER from SES, billed as its ‘next-generation’ MEO system, planned for commercial availability in the second half of 2022.
Jean-Luc Vuillemin, executive vice president for international networks and services at Orange, said: “Recent innovations… give [satellite] a growing place in the telco area, whether in Africa, in more developed areas such Europe or North America, or in specific industries such as maritime.
“This is why we are glad to reinforce our partnership with SES, as it will add a new component to our overall mission at Orange, that of building intelligent, open and innovative networks in order to support the digital transformation of our business customers and provide access to digital usage to the largest number of people.”
John-Paul Hemingway, chief executive at SES Networks, said: “SES will deliver new levels of connectivity, creating seamless, reliable global coverage for those in the maritime industry. Our flexible bandwidth solution removes barriers that might be holding ship-owners back from realising the full value [of] their digital investments.”