After over 30 years of service to mariners across the United States, MariTEL is discontinuing Marine radio voice communications service, effective June 6, 2003, citing rising operating costs and declining service revenues.
“MariTEL appreciates the opportunity to serve the marine industry over the years. I sincerely hope that MariTEL service has been useful and regret that this action is necessary,” said Dan Smith, President and CEO of MariTEL. “Over the past decade, the coastal radio station voice communications market has been eroded by the proliferation of public mobile services (cellular and PCS), satellite communications, and other commercial mobile radio services. These services have improved their coverage, availability, and affordability – they have become the voice communications service of choice for many mobile customers, including mariners. Marine VHF radio equipment simply has not evolved to meet market demands.”
MariTEL intends to maintain a presence in marine communications by developing new products
and services more in step with the communication needs of today’s marine industry. “We see excellent opportunities using VHF radio technology for marine data applications. MariTEL believes it is in a unique position to take advantage of this emerging market,” according to Smith. MariTEL is currently evaluating plans to build a marine data radio network in the United States compatible with MariTEL’s licensed spectrum. This network will be developed in accordance with standards established and maintained by international standards bodies.