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 allows 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.
Every day tens of millions of people are in environments outside the cellular radio coverage and they feel lost: so the key customer segments targeted by our service are:
- Maritime: cargo ships, mega-yachts, cruises, ferries
- Industry: oil & gas, mining, campus, science
And main benefits for users will be:
- 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
- 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….
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).
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 doesn’t require a high data rate connection: only 16 Kb/s!
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 project was successfully concluded in March 2023.
The pilot activities have been performed to demonstrate the commercial attractiveness of the product and to verify, together with the business stakeholders, the two main business model B2B and B2C. Three scenarios have been demonstrated for three different market segments, involving more than 700 final users:
- “CARGO SHIPS” demonstration: service for the crew on board the “NG Worker” ship of the NextGeoSolutions company. The OBA was integrated onboard (B2B model).
- “FERRIES” demonstration: Service (pre-paid traffic & Wi-Fi access) for the passengers of the “Agostino Lauro” Ferry of Laziomar company (Lauro group), operating between Formia and the Ponza island (B2B model)
- “Airplane” demonstration: Free vouchers distributed in the Venice airport, for the Air France flights passengers (B2C model).
Official link to the project: https://business.esa.int/projects/onetcall