“We are truly a world-leading supplier of satellite communication, wi-fi and mobile services for ocean-going ferries”, says Lars Erik Lunøe, CEO at Telenor Maritime.
The Arendal-based company recently signed a new agreement with the Polish ferry company Polferries to supply satellite-enabled mobile and wi-fi connectivity services to passengers and crew on board five of their ferries. Telenor Maritime may also deliver connectivity to new Polferries vessels operating on routes between Sweden and Poland in the future.
As of today, more than 100 European ferries have communication equipment delivered by Telenor Maritime.
“That gives us an 80 percent share of the North European ferry market,” says Lunøe, commenting on a dominant market position.
Telenor Maritime also supplies equipment to cruise ships and offshore installations, as well as a smaller number of merchant ships. Approximately 500 ships currently have communication equipment from Telenor Maritime.
With its headquarters at the quay in Arendal, Telenor Maritime stems from the Ericsson environment in Grimstad. In 2002, a group of former Ericsson employees formed Maritime Communication Partner, which was bought by Telenor four years later for NOK 175 million. Today, the company has over 100 employees and an annual turnover of NOK 600 million.
The contract with Polferries represents a potential turnover of between NOK 50 and 60 million over the next five years. Lunøe has a clear idea of the reason behind their success.
“Superior technology and a full range of communication services that large passenger ferries demand. We don’t just deliver the actual satellite connection between ship and land. We also install wi-fi networks throughout the ship, mobile coverage, and internet connection to the ships’ administrative systems. Many shipping companies prefer to deal with one supplier of all relevant communication services, which plays well for us,” says Lunøe.
Telenor Maritime’s ambition is to consolidate its position in the market for ship traffic communication services. This means investing more in deliveries to merchant ships which, apart from emergency networks, often have no shore connection when far out at sea.
“Demand for a fast and reliable internet connection is ever increasing, also in the merchant fleet. Both passengers and crew expect the same capacity and speed as they have at home. In the last two years, data traffic from ships that we serve has increased by 50 percent. We expect this trend to continue,” says Lunøe.
Lack of satellite capacity is now becoming a problem. But, according to Lunøe, that will be resolved as a new generation of low-pass communication satellites come into operation.
“We have some busy years ahead of us,” says Lunøe.