Objectives of the service
The objective of the proposed service, enabled by the satellite TLC, is related to the voice communications in an isolated environment, as a remote area, a ship or an airplane. The service will allow end users to continue using their smartphone with their mobile phone number without modifying their user experience in any way and at a cost that is absolutely lower than the one they currently support with other existing VoIP services.
The proposal to create and demonstrate a system like this, is made possible by the availability of an international patent registered in Europe, USA and Russia, for which the oneTcall team have an exclusive use license.
OneTcall is an innovative communications system, enabled by a satellite link, which, by appropriately combining technology and services already available on the market, aims to allow all users in possession of a smartphone and operating in an on board area, to continue to use their device to make and receive calls from anyone with access to the telephone network, without operating limitations or variations in the usual user experience.
Users and their needs
Every day tens of millions of people are in environments outside the cellular radio coverage and they feel lost. Ships, planes, work platforms in the sea or in the desert are called “on-board” environments. Even worse, tens of millions of people are forced to not use or to mobilize their cell phone because on board the cruise ships or planes the costs of the simple voice service are very high. The key customer segments targeted by our service are:
- Maritime: cargo ships, mega-yachts, cruises, ferries
- Industry: oil & gas, mining, campus, science.
Some customers in Europe, representing the market segments above in bold, have been involved in the DEMO trial, and more will be involved during the pilot.
The customers and users main benefits are:
Customers (Cruises, Ships, Ferries, Airlines):
- New service available for their customers.
- No specific Hardware (HW) to be installed. HW cost savings, installation and management of on-board equipment, necessary for alternative solutions (GSM cell, etc.).
- Optimized use of satellite band
- Management of an "enterprise" proprietary system that allows high flexibility in user management and pricing.
Users (crews and passengers):
- Transparently calls on your own phone number (generated and terminated calls using the same mobile phone number)
- Low costs
- Incoming and outgoing calls from/to all users (landline, mobile, all countries)
- Availability of an integrated service platform: information, on-board services, promotions, offered by shipowner / airline company….
Service/ system concept
The OneTcall system proposed above is able to provide the user with a voice service. Such service offers incoming and outgoing calls between on-board system users and generic users (digital and / or analog) connected to the terrestrial telephone network.
The mechanism and algorithm needed for the mobile numbering and VoIP traffic forwarding & management is protected by an international patent, available by exclusive license to the team.
The oneTcall service is generated and managed by the appropriate implementation of the following components:
- OneTcall APP: smartphone application representing the oneTcall service management interface
- CMT (Ground Call Manager): manager of oneTcall land services.
- VoIP Call manager: is the interface which allow oneTcall to access the terrestrial telephone network so to connect its users to the world
- OBA: (On Board Application) manager of oneTcall on board services
The system interfaces are:
- The App installed on the smartphone which on one hand is interfaced to the user through the user-friendly graphical screens and on the other hand uses the libraries primitives made available by the host platform: Android or IoS
- PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) that finalize the communication Service.
The interface to the satellite network is completely transparent thanks to onboard wi-fi network (Ship, plane or remote site).
Space Added Value
The space asset to be used, is the satellite telecommunications. The SAT TLC service is the fundamental requirement to realize the service, out of other type of coverage, mainly in mobility. From a technical point of view, a relevant activity of the project was the development of software components suitable for different types of satellite communication, such as the voice CODEC and VoIP manager.
The oneTcall service does not require a high data rate connection. This assumption comes from an initial assessment in the number of active users using the service onboard an airplane or on a ship, and the associated application data rate per user.
The SatCom platforms identified fall mainly in the rightmost GEO-broadband, represented by a wide set of VSAT services through High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) and the available medium bitrate services, which are applicable even if not truly broadband. During the project execution different satellite services have been evaluated in particular, including the new high throughput LEO service.
The Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) was successfully concluded in February 2022.
The SW application and the APPS for the proposed service are under test with the target customers on ships and airplanes.