A joint offering between European satellite operator SES and SpaceX’s Starlink plans to provide high-speed internet 24/7 to cruise ships and their guests.
“We are excited to collaborate with SES on a joint solution that combines the reach and capacity of both satellite constellations to offer a solution unlike any other in the market,” said Chad Gibbs, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Business Operations.
SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink will be available by Q4 2023. It combines the best of medium-Earth orbit (MEO) services and low-Earth orbit (LEO) networks.
The internet solutions are available in two tiers: Premium and Pro. The Premium tear (3Gbps/ship) is for ships that want to deliver the highest throughput in the industry. The Pro tier (1.5Gbps/ship) is for operators who want to manage user experience by matching the proper application to the correct orbit.
“At SES, we strive to provide a world-class connectivity experience for our cruise customers and deliver the same level of service they would enjoy on land,” said John-Paul Hemingway, Chief Strategy Officer at SES. “By being the only one in the cruise industry to expand our unique multi-orbit GEO and MEO network to utilize LEO, we believe it opens new opportunities for us to meet the needs of cruise guests and crew members and the operational requirements of cruise operators to accelerate their digital transformations – wherever they may be.”
The collaboration between SpaceX’s Starlink and SES is a well-balanced partnership. Starlink has been steadily expanding its customer base in the maritime sector. In May 2023, Starlink’s official X page announced that more than 150 cruise ships were set to use its internet services.
Meanwhile, SES has 10 years of experience delivering connectivity services directly to cruise operators. The European satellite operator pioneered multi-orbit geostationary (GEO) and MEO-enabled networks.