The Commission Decision and Recommendation on mobile communication services
on-board vessels can be found on:
Mobile communication services on-board vessels (MCV services) are
cross-border telecoms services. Up to now they have been available in Europe
only to a limited extent and usually beyond the territorial waters of Member
States, in international waters.
From a technical point of view, sea travellers' phones are linked to
on-board cellular base stations that use the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz radio wave
bands (often referred to as 'GSM frequencies') which are in turn connected to a
land-based core network via satellite, enabling communication with users of all
telecommunications networks using a normal mobile phone.
From a commercial point of view, the same range of services (voice calls,
text messages) normally provided on a land-based mobile network is offered by
on-board MCV systems, but at a higher cost (explained by the need to use
satellite) and with less capacity for advanced services such as mobile
A major concern for the industry providing MCV systems and services has been
that current regulatory regimes diverge between EU Member States both in terms
of technical and operational conditions for the use of radio spectrum and with
respect to the types of authorisations, especially when it comes to provision
of MCV services within Member States' territorial waters.
In April 2008, the Commission already adopted a set of harmonised rules
(Decision and Recommendation) on mobile communication services on aircraft
IP/08/537) to support the needs of mobile users travelling aboard
MEMO/10/88 for further details.
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