Press Release
Press Release

Grandi Navi Veloci Introduces Broadband and GSM on Cruise-Ferries
Grandi Navi Veloci Introduces Broadband and GSM on Cruise-Ferries With New Satellite Service Provided by WINS
Genoa, Italy - May 22, 2006

Grandi Navi Veloci, a leading company in passenger and goods transport throughout the Mediterranean, and WINS, a joint venture set up by Skylogic Italia (Eutelsat's broadband affiliate) and Maltasat International, today launched a satellite-based communications network on the first two of eight luxury cruise-ferries sailing in the Western Mediterranean.

The new network enables Grandi Navi Veloci to extend GSM telephony and broadband services to passengers and crew at sea. The company's complete fleet of eight GNV cruise-ferries is expected to be equipped before the end of the year.

The new service was officially launched on May 22 in the port of Genoa on La Superba, a Grandi Navi Veloci luxury cruise-ferry which can transport 3,000 passengers, 1,000 cars, 2500 linear metres of trucks. The launch event was attended by Dr. Aldo Grimaldi, President of Grandi Navi Veloci, Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat, Arduino Patacchini Chairman of Skylogic Italia and Tony Mejlaq, Chairman of WINS in the presence of Austin Gatt, Malta's Minister for Investment, Industry and Information Technology.

How it works :
The service provided by WINS is based on Skylogic Italia's D-STAR system that uses satellite to provide a two-way high-speed connection between vessels and the Internet backbone via its teleport in Turin. For the GSM service WINS has installed a routing platform at the Turin teleport which connects the local GSM network on board vessels with the global GSM network via Maltasat International's gateway facilities and an agreement with Vodafone Malta. The turnkey package provided by WINS includes procurement, installation and maintenance of networks onboard ships, complete accounting and billing.

The equipment deployed on GNV vessels is made up of a stabilised 1.2 metre antenna which communicates with capacity on Eutelsat's ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 1 satellite and which is housed in a radome located on the upper deck. The antenna is connected to a modem which interfaces with the on-board Internet network (wired and wireless) and four cellular base stations for the GSM network.

As GNV ships sail from the coast and lose the terrestrial GSM signal, passengers will see a network signal on their mobile phones indicating they can place calls and use SMS via international roaming arrangements. Using VOIP, passengers can also call from cabins and suites with fixed phones as well as from the public phone facility at rates of 1.5EUR a minute. Internet access is available on passengers' individual laptops through a Wi-Fi network and at eight fixed facilities located onboard, at rates of 10 to 20EUR an hour, depending on time of day. Passengers will pay for fixed phone and Internet access using GNV-branded prepaid calling cards at values of 5, 10 and 20EUR or by credit card.

In addition to passenger services the network installed by WINS brings the benefits of remote credit card authorisations for payments and e-mail communication in order to coordinate logistics for goods transport. Grandi Navi Veloci will also use the network for real-time connection of its headquarters in Genoa with the Captain's Bridge in order to streamline supply management logistics and carry-out on land control of the safety system which governs access to cabins with magnetic cards.

"The innovative solution proposed by WINS will enable Grandi Navi Veloci to provide passengers with a satellite-based solution for extending mobile telephony and broadband services at sea," said Dr. Aldo Grimaldi, President of Grandi Navi Veloci. "Real-time remote monitoring and management of our onboard sales will also be an efficient tool for even better service management and optimisation. Through the implementation of these services Grandi Navi Veloci is reconfirming its innovation and technology-oriented strategy and mindset, thus guaranteeing the highest safety standards aboard and putting at passengers' disposal better and more efficient services."

Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat added: "Eutelsat is very pleased to see the deployment of the first services by WINS, which harnesses the expertise of Maltasat International and our Skylogic Italia affiliate to address the highly promising markets of broadband access and extension of GSM connectivity at sea. This initiative further diversifies the range of services provided on land, in-flight and at sea by Eutelsat's satellites and sits at the heart of our broadband development strategy. We look forward to further consolidating this association and are delighted to have won the confidence of Grandi Navi Veloci which is distinguished for its high standards of quality, passenger comfort and efficiency."

"At the heart of our service to Grandi Navi Veloci is the capability of WINS to cover the complete definition of the network, including management of satellite capacity, interconnection with the Internet and GSM connectivity. This enables Grandi Navi Veloci to extend its high standards to continued use of mobile phones and broadband services," said Tony Mejlaq, Chairman of WINS. "This first agreement with Grandi Navi Veloci, which sets the pace in its sector, marks an excellent start for WINS."