Compatible With the New Inmarsat Fleet F77 Service, Tracphone F77 Connects Vessels to E-mail, Internet, and Corporate Intranets
MIDDLETOWN, R.I., Feb 14, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today at the Miami International Boat Show, KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI) unveiled the new Tracphone F77 marine satellite communication system. Brought to market in cooperation with Thrane & Thrane, the leading designer of Inmarsat equipment, the KVH Tracphone F77 is fully compatible with Inmarsat's new Fleet F77 service, which provides high-quality voice connections as well as data connections at speeds up to 64 kilobits per second (Kbps). Vessels equipped with the Tracphone F77 can now remain connected at all times around the globe to e-mail services, the Internet, corporate intranets, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) thanks to Inmarsat's new Mobile Packet Data Service (MPDS), which bills users based on the amount of data transmitted and received rather than connection time.
"Fleet managers, ship captains, and yacht owners require more than just reliable communication," explained Ian Palmer, vice president of satellite sales. "They need to stay in touch at all times to receive the up-to-the-minute information critical to vessel safety, operation, and business through 'always on' connections and high-speed data transfers, wherever they are worldwide. We are pleased to make this possible now with the introduction of the Tracphone F77."
Tracphone F77 can switch between two different channels -- MPDS and mobile Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) -- to meet a variety of communication needs while providing the most cost-effective options available. Designed for short-burst data transmissions, MPDS is perfect for receiving e-mail, logging onto and working within a company intranet, or browsing the web. And with its "pay per megabit" pricing, users are charged only for the amount of the data sent and received, not by connection time. As a result, a vessel can remain connected via e-mail or the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no additional cost. The high-capacity mobile ISDN channel provides a constant data stream at speeds as fast as 64 Kbps, making it ideal for phone and fax service, video conferencing, and transmitting large files and images. ISDN usage is charged on a per-minute basis.
"Tracphone F77 is the first product offered as a result of our recent agreement with Thrane & Thrane," Palmer continued. "Tracphone F77 owners will benefit from both KVH's experience in distribution and service and Thrane & Thrane's position as a leading marine satellite communication system designer. For example, Tracphone F77 is prepared for the implementation of the International Maritime Organization's latest distress and safety specifications of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), supporting the accreditation of vessels' systems and ensuring that all distress and safety needs are met."
Thrane & Thrane has also been selected by Inmarsat to design, develop, and manufacture the ground infrastructure that will be used by Inmarsat's next generation of satellites, scheduled for launch in 2004. With this in mind, the Tracphone F77 was designed to ensure that the antenna was compatible not only with the existing Inmarsat satellites but also the next-generation satellites that will be activated in 2004.
With its fully stabilized antenna and high-impact dome, Tracphone F77 is equipped to withstand the rigorous conditions of life at sea. The Tracphone F77 package includes the antenna, a transceiver, and a telephone handset and cradle. The system's transceiver serves as the hub for all on-line communication via the ship's telephone networks and fax machines. Connected to an IP router, Tracphone F77 can link all shipboard computers to onshore web-based systems, including e-mail and Internet services. With its "always on-line" MPDS capability, Tracphone F77 can turn a ship into a fully operational node in a company's worldwide network.
Palmer explained why the Tracphone F77 is a valuable addition to KVH's line of satellite communication products, "KVH is committed to offering products that connect mariners to the valuable information they require for safety and comfort. We have already established KVH as the leading manufacturer of marine satellite TV and telephone antennas, and true maritime Internet access is the next step. Our new TracNet Mobile High-speed Internet System now enables users to surf the web at speeds up to 400 Kbps throughout the United States, Canada, and their coastal waters. With the addition of the Tracphone F77, KVH has now extended the reach of satellite Internet and data services to mariners worldwide."
Thrane & Thrane, founded in 1981, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of terminals and land earth stations for global mobile satellite communication via the Inmarsat system. The company provides equipment for land-based, maritime, and aeronautical use. Thrane & Thrane has manufactured approximately 35 percent of the Inmarsat- compatible systems in use worldwide.
KVH Industries, Inc., is a leading provider of innovative high-bandwidth communications products. Using proprietary fiber optic and satellite antenna technology, the company is developing next-generation systems with greater precision, durability, and versatility for communications, navigation, and industrial applications. An ISO 9001-registered company, KVH has headquarters in Middletown, Rhode Island, with a fiber optic manufacturing facility in Illinois, and a European sales, marketing and support office in Hoersholm, Denmark.
Chris Watson, 401/847-3327
Investor Relations Contact:
Kristian Svindland or Jolinda Taylor, 617/747-3600
Financial Media Contact:
Ron Heckmann, 415/296-7383