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Tracphone Offers Commercial Vessels Access to Global Satellite Communications


MIDDLETOWN, RI – September 14, 2001 – Offering excellent financial savings and cost-effective voice, fax, e-mail, and data services, the Tracphone 50 marine satellite communications system from KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI) is enhancing business operations aboard commercial vessels worldwide. Tracphone 50 antennas provide near-worldwide access to these critical means of communication via Inmarsat mini-M, the world’s most popular maritime satellite communications service, which has more than 18,000 systems in use.

The Tracphone 50 antenna is designed specifically for commercial applications. The antenna uses a gyro and inclinometer to precisely measure the pitch, roll, and yaw of the vessel in relation to the earth. On-board microprocessors and the Company’s proprietary stabilization and control software use that data to compute the antenna movement necessary for the antenna’s motors to point the antenna properly and maintain satellite contact. Tracphone 50’s robotics design, fielded on more than 7,000 similar systems, is robust, reliable, and fully automatic, and has been amply demonstrated by both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, which use other KVH antenna systems that feature the same technology. The 3-axis, fully stabilized antenna delivers trouble-free, high-quality reception to commercial vessels travelling throughout the world’s waters, maintaining the satellite contact that is crucial for business, safety, and personal needs.

With Tracphone 50 and Inmarsat mini-M satellite service, communications needs are met 24 hours a day, nearly anywhere in the world, and at a lower cost than other satellite services. For example, the cost for mini-M service is one-third the price of Inmarsat’s A or B satellite services. Based on 10 minutes of voice and e-mail use per day, the average monthly cost with Tracphone 50 is $600-$800. The same calls using Inmarsat A or B would cost from $2,000-$3,000 per month. Cost savings per vessel could exceed $20,000 a year with Tracphone 50 mini-M.

Tracphone 50 is also the most cost-effective text messaging system. Sending eight lines of e-mail text costs about $1.50 with the Tracphone 50 system while the same message would cost approximately $5.00 using Inmarsat C. The annual savings for all of these types of communications becomes very significant over the course of a year and throughout a multiple-carrier fleet.

Tracphone 50 is an ideal solution for commercial vessels where operators often worry about crew members running up high monthly bills. A variety of billing arrangements are available, including individual, pre-paid, calling cards that can be sold or distributed to crews for use with a single Tracphone system. Password-protected “smart cards” also permit individual crew members to have personalized calling information while providing an additional level of security and accountability for vessel operators.

KVH has designed the compact system, which measures only 19.3" in diameter, so it is easy to install and tie into a ship’s phone system, including PABX. With its fax/phone switch, Tracphone 50 can simultaneously support multiple telephones, a fax machine, and a computer system. For ongoing support, KVH has a worldwide dealer support network in all major ports to answer questions and provide on-line technical assistance. The Tracphone 50 is backed by an unmatched 2-year warranty.

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.

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