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eSIM Maritime Connectivity

Telecom26, MiWire Trial New eSIM Maritime Connectivity

Telecom26 and MiWire announced they are trialling a new eSIM-based maritime connectivity service that will provide fast and reliable data at a reduced price for commercial vessels — particularly ferries — that often sail on the same routes. eSIM Maritime Connectivity

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Traditionally satellite has been the technology of choice for the commercial shipping industry. However, satellite connectivity has several limitations including:

  • High-cost, inflexible monthly usage plans
  • Significant gaps in coverage.

Telecom26 and MiWire both specialise in providing maritime connectivity. The two companies have collaborated to develop a maritime service that can access land-based cellular networks, which can reach up to 50km out to sea.

This new maritime service, based on eSIM, will always use the most cost-effective and strongest cellular connection for data which can take advantage of local rates – and will only switch to a more expensive satellite when the vessel gets too far from land.

Research conducted by MiWire reveals that, for most of their voyages, vessels tend to spend above 80% of time within sight of the shore and can therefore access land-based cellular networks.

At the heart of the new maritime service are Telecom26’s eSIMs which use a proprietary Local Profile Assistant on device (LPAd) technology. With the LPAd, eSIM profiles can be loaded onto a standard eUICC module, which is inserted into the standard SIM slot of MiWire’s existing routers, without any changes to their hardware stock.

MiWire routers have a database of the coastal coverage which is augmented with scans of the coast, identifying base stations – and the carrier to which they belong – so that they can use this information to select the best network to secure data connectivity.

The onboard antenna then precisely aligns with the optimal mobile base stations to receive the best radio signal. Telecom26 global network is the default profile with its eSIMs able to access cellular networks in more than 200 countries and territories.

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The use of Telecom26’s LPAd technology enables:

  • Existing routers to be upgraded to support eSIM
  • eSIM profiles to be downloaded, enabled, disabled and deleted on MiWire’s routers
  • MiWire to remotely manage the connectivity rules and service levels available to individual eSIMs
  • MiWire’s routers select the appropriate eSIM profile for every location on the vessel’s journey – and support fallback logic, in the event that an eSIM provider suffers an outage

The GSMA’s “M2M eSIM” specification was designed to address large scale deployments of IoT/M2M devices. However, this standard was too costly and complex for medium- to small-scale M2M and router use cases – and did not offer the simplicity that is enabled with consumer eSIM propositions and enjoyed by mobile subscribers today.

Although the GSMA is developing a hybrid approach to resolving this problem, this will take time to be standardised and adopted in routers and modems. In the meantime, to address this deficit and to bring the convenience of eSIM tech to industrial and commercial devices today, Telecom26 has developed its own approach for routers – and will adjust to the GSMA’s standards once they are available.

David Fleischer, CEO of MiWire, said “Telecom26’s innovative and industry-leading LPAd technology is a game-changer for the maritime connectivity industry. Trials of our new service are consistently delivering fast, reliable and always-on coverage – and allows us to offer compelling price points to our customers. It will be launched commercially shortly”.

Nicola Berardocco, CEO of Telecom26, said “Maritime connectivity is one of our core services with our customers able to use our global service which utilises the networks of hundreds of operators. Our collaboration with MiWire has produced the best data service available for commercial vessels – taking eSIM into the commercial arena”.

Potential Impact eSIM Maritime Connectivity

This trial could be a game-changer for the maritime industry, making advanced communications more accessible in these environments. It aligns with the demand for:

  • Smart Ships: Connected vessels require robust, cost-effective internet for navigation, data-driven operations, and crew welfare.
  • Operational Efficiency: Reliable and affordable data facilitates streamlined fleet management and logistics.

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