Insight | Partner case study: Comsatel


High-quality connectivity on board galápagos expedition vessels  

  • In 2017, Comsatel identified the potential for faster, more reliable internet connection on board Galápagos expedition vessels.
  • With Galápagos cruise operators increasingly seeking high-quality connectivity for their luxury vessels, local Inmarsat authorised distributor Comsatel is serving growing demand in the region for Inmarsat’s market-leading connectivity service, Fleet Xpress.
Related services: Fleet Xpress FleetBroadband

A long-standing partnership with Comsatel

The Galápagos Islands are among the world’s foremost nature destinations, with their striking landscapes and rich biodiversity attracting affluent cruise tourists from around the globe. However, given the archipelago’s remote location – approximately 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador – and complex topography, it has traditionally been a weak spot for satellite-based communications.

Drawing on its long-standing partnership with Inmarsat, the Ecuador-based company introduced Fleet Xpress to the Galápagos cruise market. Inmarsat’s industry-leading connectivity service has since become a fixture in the region, delivering high-quality internet access on board 15 luxury expedition vessels.

"We have been working in the Galápagos for many years now, but thanks to Fleet Xpress, it is a more important market for our business than ever before.” - Daniel Baquerizo, Sales Manager, Comsatel.

A passenger-driven requirement

According to Baquerizo, demand for higher-quality connectivity in the archipelago has been driven by cruise guests:

“For many travellers, the Galápagos Islands are on the bucket-list of once-in-a-lifetime destinations. Visitors pay good money to be there, so they expect to be provided with the fast and reliable onboard internet needed to share their experiences with family, friends and on social media.

What started as a competitive differentiator for cruise operators in the region is now almost a basic requirement.”

MV Origin vessel @ Ecoventura
“Fleet Xpress is the only service that combines global coverage and unlimited back-up – through FleetBroadband – in a single package, making it the ideal choice for an area that typically presents challenges for maritime connectivity providers.”

Daniel Baquerizo, Sales Manager, Comsatel.

Benefits across the board

While the demand for enhanced connectivity in the Galápagos Islands originated with cruise passengers, the benefits of Fleet Xpress are available to all stakeholders.

For the operator, the service streamlines ship-to-shore communication and enables the implementation of third-party applications and data analysis – through Inmarsat’s Fleet Connect and Fleet Data – to improve operational efficiency, safety and sustainability as well as cyber security.

Meanwhile, through Fleet Hotspot, crew members can maintain contact with friends and family and enjoy online entertainment in their free time using their own devices. In addition, Fleet Hotspot works independently from general vessel bandwidth, meaning mission-critical communications are unaffected by crew internet usage.

More benefits for local cruise operators

Appreciation for the wide-ranging benefits of Fleet Xpress among early adopters has been key to the service’s popularity in the Galápagos cruise market. “Following the installation on board 15 vessels operating in Galapagos, more cruise operators are now looking to upgrade their connectivity service to Fleet Xpress after learning about the benefits it delivers,” explains Baquerizo. “Since this is a protected area, the market is small and highly exclusive, so to have 15 vessels signed up to the same solution is a real achievement.”

Similarly, operators that have implemented Fleet Xpress tend to extend their agreement with Comsatel to cover additional vessels or upgrade to higher speeds. Baquerizo points to Ecoventura, which in 2018-2019 installed Fleet Xpress on board its cruise ships, Origin and Theory, and last year extended its contract to increase bandwidth and to include its luxury expedition yacht, Evolve, meaning its entire Galápagos fleet now deploys the service.

Another operator to have fully committed to Fleet Xpress is Quasar expeditions, whose two luxury yachts, Grace and Evolution, were signed up to the service at the same time as Ecoventura Evolve.

A fruitful relationship

“Our partnership with Comsatel, which spans over 20 years, has allowed us to gain a foothold in several shipping segments in Ecuador and the surrounding region,” comments Christian Cordoba, Account Manager, Inmarsat Maritime.

“Most recently, it has enabled us to establish a strong presence in the Galápagos luxury expedition segment, bringing unmatched coverage, speed and reliability to guests, operators and crew in this unique location. We thank Comsatel for their support with this ongoing enterprise.”