Small, affordable TracPhone V7 and global mini-VSAT Broadband satellite communications network propel KVH to one of world's top 4 maritime VSAT operators
MIDDLETOWN, R.I., July 27, 2009 -- "The TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband are changing the entire way we do business," explains Scott H. Bryant, captain of the fishing vessel American No.1, operated by Fishermen's Finest of Seattle, WA. He isn't the only one coming to that realization as commercial operators and leisure boat owners are making the change from oversized, overpriced, and underperforming traditional VSAT solutions to the TracPhone® V7 and mini-VSAT Broadbandsm service from KVH Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: KVHI). Introduced less than 2 years ago, this compact satellite communication system is proving to be a disruptive player in the maritime market as the company announced today that it recently shipped its 500th system, representing almost 10% of the installed base of maritime VSAT systems based on estimates in the "2008 Maritime VSAT Markets Report" published by COMSYS.
"To become one of the world's leading maritime VSAT operators in less than two years is a testament to the convenience, affordability, and reliability offered by our fully integrated, 24-inch diameter TracPhone V7 and the powerful mini-VSAT Broadband network," says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH's chief executive officer. "Our research showed that maritime customers were unhappy with the performance of traditional VSAT systems. We knew that we could win a leadership position in the market with a superior end-to-end hardware design and robust global network. Our success to date in the face of long-established legacy solutions clearly illustrates that ship captains, commercial fleet managers, and leisure boaters desire a new, more affordable, more reliable, and more versatile approach to maritime satellite communications."
The mini-VSAT Broadband service, along with the KVH TracPhone V7 antenna, comprise the first end-to-end 24-inch VSAT hardware, service, and support package available for maritime communications. Working together with its partner, ViaSat, KVH offers Voice over IP phone service and Internet access as fast as 512 Kbps (upload) and 2 Mbps (download) at fixed monthly rates to mariners throughout North America, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic, Europe, the Northern Pacific, and the Persian Gulf as well as to the ViaSat Yonder(sm) mobile network for in-flight broadband to business and commercial aircraft. KVH also recently announced plans for expansion of the service into Asian waters, the Indian Ocean, and the waters surrounding Australia and New Zealand. With the activation of these coverage areas, the mini-VSAT Broadband network will cover the majority of the world's maritime shipping routes and allow mariners to circumnavigate the globe while never leaving KVH's service areas.
This combination of features offers competitive advantages previously unavailable to commercial operators. According to Captain Bryant of American No.1, "The super-fast, always-on connection makes it easy for us to communicate with our office on shore and get all the weather updates and other information we need. Having the TracPhone V7 onboard allows us to spend more time doing what we're out here to do - maximize our daily production!"
For Eddie Kristensson of Vadero Ship Management, the 24-inch (60 cm) diameter, 60 lb. (27 kg) TracPhone V7 offered immediate practical and financial benefits before it was even activated. "The single biggest advantage was that we could easily install it in a normal port and not have to do it at a shipyard. It came completely plug and play, with cables, and then the antenna is so small and light, it was easy to do."
"When we set out to create the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband, we wanted to offer something that no other VSAT provider could match - a completely integrated hardware, network, and service solution," explains Jim Dodez, KVH's vice president of marketing and strategic development. "Most of our competitors cobble together an antenna from one company, a modem from another, and service from still another, resulting in a hodge-podge of parts that take days to install and activate and confusion as to who is responsible for service and support. With KVH, you have one company providing a fully integrated end-to-end hardware and service solution through our global network of dealers and distributors."
According to customers like Captain Ken Maff of the 115-foot yacht Kapalua, that approach does make a tremendous difference. "The TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband are a convenient satellite communications solution for Kapalua because KVH is the only point of contact. We don't worry about wasting time going back and forth between service and hardware providers playing the 'blame game'."
Increasingly, the TracPhone V7 is seen not only as an option for new vessels but also as a replacement for existing solutions that simply don't offer the reliability, bandwidth, or affordability available with the TracPhone V7.
"With our low Earth orbit (LEO) systems we enjoyed what had been an optimal mix of low equipment cost and low operating cost, but they degraded rapidly and are of no use at all now," observed Stephen Kemp, resource manager for Tesla Offshore, which relies on the KVH solution for its geophysical data acquisition vessels. "Reliable communication is essential to our business, so we found the low operating cost and higher data capacity of the TracPhone V7 very attractive."
For other companies, such as Mowinckel Ship Management, the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service are ideal complements to existing services, offering tremendous cost savings and expanded access to Internet and voice.
"We are excited to have a new solution for day-to-day shipboard satellite communications that is both affordable and easy to install alongside our existing Inmarsat and GSM systems. This helps to keep our business operations efficient, and allows the crew to use the services to stay in touch with their loved ones," says Runar Gaarder, Mowinckel's ICT Manager. "This is especially important, because in our industry retaining quality crew and officers is essential."
The evolution of the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service continues. KVH recently announced the availability of a crew calling system and by the end of 2009, KVH and ViaSat hope to have in place the first-ever global Ku-band network for broadband communications and seamless roaming for vessels and aircraft.
"Our expanding coverage areas, affordable service and groundbreaking antenna design are driving significant interest and establishing the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service in the marketplace. We look forward to bringing this valuable satellite communications solution to an increasing number of mariners in the coming years," concluded Kits van Heyningen.
Visit http://www.minivsat.com for additional details regarding the TracPhone V7 and mini-VSAT Broadband service along with maps illustrating the current and planned coverage for mini-VSAT Broadband service.
TracPhone V7 customers quoted in this release include:
Captain Scott H. Bryant, Fishermen's Finest: http://www.fishermensfinest.com
Eddie Kristensson, Vadero Ship Management: http://www.vaderoshipping.se
Stephen Kemp, Tesla Offshore: http://www.teslaoffshore.com
Runar Gaarder, Mowinckel Ship Management: http://www.mshipm.com
About KVH Industries, Inc.
Middletown, RI-based KVH Industries, Inc., and its wholly owned subsidiary, KVH Europe A/S, are leading providers of in-motion satellite TV and communications systems, having designed, manufactured, and sold more than 150,000 mobile satellite antennas for applications on vessels, vehicles, and aircraft. KVH's mission is to connect mobile customers around the globe with the same digital television entertainment, communications, and Internet services that they enjoy in their homes and offices.
This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include, for example, the service rollout plans, the functionality, characteristics, quality and performance of KVH's products and technology; anticipated innovation and product development; and customer demand, preferences, requirements and expectations. The actual results could differ materially. Factors that may cause such differences include, among others, the successful launch and deployment of new satellites; uncertainty about the scope of customer demand; the potential inability to secure the licenses necessary for the network; risks associated with the delivery or performance of critical hardware; future decisions about the expected profitability of additional satellite regions; changes in the costs and capabilities of competing offerings; and those other risk factors discussed in KVH's most recent Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. KVH does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements to reflect new information or developments.
KVH and TracPhone are registered trademarks of KVH Industries. "mini-VSAT Broadband" is a service mark of KVH Industries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.