Reborn Marlink off to a good start

Mar 18 2016

Recently re-branded Marlink has launched a new seafarer communications solution and moved a larger Singapore office.

Universal Card Go is a new single multi-band prepaid solution for crew Internet access and voice calling on all service types.

As a single communication payment solution for seafarers, Universal Card Go makes using the telephone and Internet much easier for crews, while streamlining the billing process for vessel managers, Marlink said.

Universal Card Go is claimed to be the first pre-paid solution in the maritime market that covers both voice and data usage and can be used across all Marlink VSAT services, including new 1GB plans offered with separate prepaid crew access.

It is the next stage of Marlink’s established Universal Card solution, which is used by over 40,000 seafarers. It was developed in response to demand from shipowners, seafarers and service provider partners for simplified access to voice and data services on VSAT and MSS (Mobile Satellite Services).

By reducing the amount of prepaid methods required for accessing different services to just one, Universal Card Go instantly simplifies the whole process for crew communication facilities. It works for calling mobile phones and land lines, sending SMS and Internet connectivity over Ku-, C- and in the future Ka-band VSAT, in addition to L-band MSS from Inmarsat and Iridium, the company said.

Universal Card Go is compatible with new 1GB VSAT service plans from Marlink, which provide post-paid data and two voice lines for ship’s business activities. The new ‘entry-level’ plans provide a reliable, global and always-on link up to 1.5 Mbps data throughput purely for business connectivity applications, such as monitoring of vessel performance and collaboration with headquarters.

Customers can also per vessel choose to add the crew prepaid package, which provides an additional two voice lines and Internet connectivity for seafarers, administered through Universal Card Go, and without affecting the data connection for business needs.

“Universal Card Go enables senior officers to concentrate on vessel operations, while crew members enjoy hassle-free access to communication facilities. A single payment solution for multiple connectivity services fits perfectly with our multi-band approach, which focus on the application more than the frequency band of the service,” said Tore Morten Olsen, Marlink’s President Maritime.

Marlink has also moved to a new office in Singapore in order to meet the growing demand for delivery and support of its portfolio of communication solutions for maritime customers operating in Southeast Asia.

The original Marlink Singapore office was opened in 1998. The new office, managed by Eric Jan Bakker, Asia head of sales, includes a fully equipped support centre operating seven days a week, in addition to live test, demonstration and training facilities, covering all of Marlink’s core connectivity services and solutions.

The Marlink Singapore team consists of trained experts on the company’s integrated Ku, Ka, C and L-band satcom solutions. With local knowledge and product/spare parts stocks, the team is on hand to support all Marlink equipped vessels transiting via Singapore, the company said.

“We have had a strong presence in Singapore for over a decade and our new office takes it to the next level. We have invested significantly in our new facility to ensure that Marlink can meet the changing demands of the high concentration of customers we have in, or visiting Singapore and the surrounding regions,” said Bakker. “The establishment of our new office in Singapore introduces significant new capabilities for sales, installations and service requests. Marlink Singapore reflects our commitment to being where our customers are, with strategically located offices in maritime industry hotspots.”

The Singapore office move is the first change to come under the new Marlink name, which was launched on 25th February, 2016 as the next chapter for the organisation previously operating as Airbus Defence and Space, and prior to that Astrium Services, Vizada, Telenor and France Telecom.

It is now owned by private equity concern Apax Partners, which was involved with the original Marlink in 2006-2007.

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