MCP to transform mobile communication on Norwegian Continental Shelf with 4G roll out

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Maritime Communication Partner (MCP) has today announced plans to rollout a LTE (4G) network on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The move will create a high-speed, reliable and fully integrated communications environment, providing offshore workers and businesses with levels of connectivity comparable to those they enjoy on land.

MCP, an established leader in delivering mobile communication solutions at sea, already operates on the NCS with a GSM service, providing seamless phone and internet access for offshore companies such as DeepOcean, Subsea7 and Gulf Offshore. The move to LTE, enabled by the firm’s successful acquisition of the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority’s 800Mhz licence on August 18th, will greatly enhance speed and reach, connecting platforms, rigs and vessels on the NCS with advanced 4G services.

“LTE has the potential to create a new mobile communications reality on the NCS,” commented MCP CEO Frode Støldal, who joined the firm in August from Telenor Norway, where he was CTO. “Our high-speed, ‘always on’ network will reach the very remotest parts of all operating oilfields, connecting NCS assets and allowing them to communicate and transfer data at competitive rates, with impeccable coverage.

“Closed networks can be established for business critical communication, while open networks will allow NCS workers to enjoy similar digital lifestyles to those they value so much on land. The impact on business potential and personal quality of life will be significant.”

MCP will begin LTE rollout in 2015, giving it a portfolio of proprietary high-speed networks on 800Mhz and 900Mhz frequencies and consolidating its position as the only full-service mobile solutions provider covering the NCS. It is currently planning the installation of 4G base stations across the territory, facilitating high capacity networks close to installations and activity hubs, while reaching further afield with quality, real-time broadband services.

“MCP and its parent Telenor view offshore as a new greenfield,” Støldal stressed, adding that there are few remaining, genuine mobile ‘greenfields’ left. “That has guided our decision to invest in spectrums and infrastructure, as we look to usher in a new age of connectivity at sea.”

He continued: “We believe this is of fundamental importance to the offshore community, enabling not just better communication, but a more sustainable future for the industry. Digital connections facilitate greater efficiencies, speed and accuracy for modern businesses, and this leads to process improvements and enhanced performance.”

MCP has a 12-year history of delivering advanced mobile solutions to maritime customers, with a leading position in the cruise and ferry markets and a growing share of the emerging offshore segment. The firm’s CellAtSea network offers unbeatable global coverage within the industry (with more than 330 international roaming agreements in place), connecting some 16million users last year and supporting explosive growth in data traffic (up 105% year-on-year in 2013). This expertise, Støldal concludes, is key to providing customers with the services they want.

“We understand customer needs and technological potential,” he states, “That’s been the bedrock of our success so far. With Telenor’s backing, and our team’s proven industry track record, we aim to leverage that know-how to unlock new opportunities on the NCS, providing long-term solutions and quality of service for everyone working in this dynamic offshore environment.”