Press Releases 2021
TOKYO—SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (“MOL”) and e5 Lab, Inc. (“e5 Lab”) today 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.
SoftBank, MOL 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 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.
SoftBank, MOL 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.
MOL (traded on the 1st section of Tokyo Stock Exchange: 9104) is a multimodal corporate group, developing various social infrastructure businesses such as offshore and wind power energy, centered on ocean shipping business activities including the dedicated vessels and tankers that carry raw materials and fuels, car carriers, and containerships that carry various products. It meets the challenge of responding to changing social needs, including environmental conservation, through the advancement of technologies and services. It contributes to worldwide economic growth with the world's largest fleet, experience and technologies accumulated in 130-plus years of history, and a challenging spirit aiming to create new values.
About e5 Lab
A provider of ocean shipping solutions based on electrification and digitalization. It established Marindows Inc. with the objective of developing and spreading the world's first maritime OS “Marindows” in March 2021. e5 Lab leverages technology and know-how networks related to electrically powered vessels to solve issues facing the shipping industry and social infrastructure in Japan, contributing to sustainable growth of the shipping industry.
e5 Lab delivers five kinds of e-value (“Electrification,” “Environment,” “Efficiency,” “Economics,” and “Evolution”).
MOL Ferry Co., Ltd. (President: Naotoshi Omoto) and Ferry Sunflower Limited. (President: Mitsujiro Akasaka) operate ferries in Japan under the “Sunflower” brand name serving three Kansai-Kyushu and one Kanto-Hokkaido routes every day. The “Sunflower” offers “Casual Cruises” on which passengers can comfortably enjoy “extraordinary space and time” in their casual everyday clothes.
OneWeb was established with the vision of bridging the digital divide with its own networks. In October 2020, it was acquired by the U.K. government and Bharti Group, and in 2021 raised funds from SoftBank Group Corp., Eutelsat, and Hughes Network Group. It offers satellite communication service to government agencies, enterprises, and end users with global communication networks provided from outer space. To offer high-speed high-bandwidth and low delay communication service at affordable prices, OneWeb maintains ground stations and develops products, and realizes constellation by low-orbit satellite, contributing to growth of IoT and development of 5G.
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