Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. ("MOL"), SoftBank Corp. ("SoftBank"), and e5 Lab, Inc. ("e5 Lab") announced they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the use of a next-generation high-speed communication satellites, offered by UK-based OneWeb Ltd. ("OneWeb"), to provide maritime broadband communications on vessels at sea. SoftBank and OneWeb are currently collaborating on the development of the OneWeb's satellite communication services.
MOL, SoftBank, and e5 Lab will promote the "introduction of maritime broadband communications" and secure, safe and efficient "digitalization of the maritime industry" by using OneWeb's next-generation high-speed satellite communication service at sea, where communication infrastructure lags far behind what is available on land.
The three companies are planning to launch the following initiatives to introduce maritime broadband communication and digitalization.
• Study of various use cases related to digitalization of marine transportation (Period: October 2021 - September 2023)
Study various use cases and effects of introductions related to the digitalization of marine transportation, which will be realized by introducing the satellite broadband communications.
• Demonstration of satellite communication services by OneWeb (Period: April 2022 - March 2023)
Conduct demonstrations using of OneWeb satellite communication services at sea by installing OneWeb's satellite antennas on "Sunflower" ferries, which are operated by an MOL subsidiary.
MOL, SoftBank, and e5 Lab will leverage their varied technological expertise and knowledge and foster the sustainable growth of the maritime shipping industry by using Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) solutions such as next-generation communication satellites and stratospheric communication platforms.