No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

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No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

I've used my Cingular, now AT&T, quad-band cell phones on Holland America ships quite succesfully for the better part of a year. The connectivity was excellent, both at-sea and ashore in various Pacific & Caribbean countries.
 
But, now, I understand that, due to a contract dispute with the company providing the cellular link to cruise ships at-sea, AT&T cell phones will not connect aboard all Holland America ships since early this summer. It's not a technical problem....it's completely contractual.
 
Does anyone have any up-to-date information on this? Is AT&T working to get it's contractual/roaming agreement issues resolved so that it's customers can use their phones at-sea on Holland America Line once again? (And send AT&T lots of extra $$$s!) T-Mobile works fine on Holland America ships.....but AT&T doesn;t have any roaming agreements anymore with T-Mobile.
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Master

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

You will probably be able to get more information from Holland America than from AT&T.  By the way Tmobile does not provide their own coverage aboard any ship. They simply have roaming agreements with other carriers and charge twice the price for on board coverage that at&t does at $4.99 per min compared to $2.49 with at&t.
 
AT&T is actually the largest provider of on board coverage aboard cruise lines world-wide and the actually owns the broadcasting towers aboard most cruise ships. There are a couple of other minor players that provide on board coverage as well.  Perhaps Holland America awarded the contract for coverage aboard their ships to someone else and at&t has not yet come to an agreement with the provider that Holland America uses.   
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

DWC1 -
 
Thanks for your reply. You confirmed the information I have received so far from other sources. Apparently, Holland America Line ships use SeaMobile as thier cellular service provider.....but AT&T is in some sort of dispute with SeaMobile and has not yet signed a roaming agreement with them. Apparently AT&T is in some sort of partnership with SeaMobile's competitor.
 
I have emailed AT&T Customer Support on this issue and am awaiting a reply.  Meanwhile, Holland America Line has confirmed that they are, unfortunately, the middleman stuck in the middle of all this.  They have installed systems compatible with BOTH maritime cellular providers and cell phones from Verizon, T-Mobile, Rogers UK, O2, etc.... are working just fine.  But without a roaming agreement signature, AT&T customers cannot be billed yet by SeaMobile.....thus their signals are blocked by SeaMobile. Holland America is unable to do anything about it.
 
A real bummer.....several of us are leaving for 64 days aboard ms Amsterdam soon -- around the Pacific Ocean, Seattle to San Diego via Singapore and the Far East. Cell phone connectivity would have really been helpful as many aboard are quite elderly. Lots of lost $$$s for AT&T!
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Master

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

Why don't you contact Seamobile direclty and ask them what the problem might be?  They have an office in Miami.  I would not immediately assume that Holland America is as inoccent as they claim regarding this issue.
 
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

Great idea....just sent a message to SeaMobile. Now, I think I've got all the bases covered. Should be interesting to compare all the different explanations (or lack of them) from AT&T, Holland America Line and SeaMobile!
 
Thanks again!
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

I now have responses from Holland America, AT&T and SeaMobile on the current inability for AT&T customers to use their cell phones AT-SEA aboard HAL ships.

Holland America is, of course, apologetic "for the inconvenience" but the dispute between AT&T and the maritime cellular provider is "beyond their control." Actually, HAL could do something about it: go back to using the services of SeaMobile's competitor, Wireless Maritime Services. AT&T has a roaming agreement with them (Yeah, they OWN 51% of the company!)....but I have no idea how that would negatively impact on passengers with other cellular carriers.

AT&T is, of course, apologetic "for the inconvenience" but they have "no current plans" to provide cellular connectivity for their customers aboard HAL ships. (But keep up the good work sending massive amounts of money to AT&T anyway!)

SeaMobile was the most forthcoming and indicated they have "been trying valiantly to obtain a roaming agreement from them yet they [AT&T] are unwilling to do so."

At least SeaMobile had the class to NOT "apologize for the inconveniece." It seems, lately that is the phrase taught in all American corporate management obfuscation classes to absolve the company of all responsibility or blame! (Heck, maybe we should all start "apologizing for the inconvenience" when we are a day late paying a bill, or five minutes late for a doctor's appointment or make ANY mistake, for that matter!
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

Any update on the status of these negotiations?  Very poor customer service on the part of AT&T if it is not resolved and only goes to show that they are more interested in $$$ than providing their customers the best and most complete service possible.
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Guru

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

On a hunch, I called Mobal which resells the O2 UK SIM to see whether they had roaming and they do not support cruiseship roaming.  Roadpost.com has a similar SIM, but I assume they have a similar problem.

Seaworld offers a product for military (and I think cruise ship employees) called SailorPhone which is a prepaid SIM card on their network.  Perhaps they would be willing to sell you that.  The per minute rate would probably be cheaper than roaming and I'd guess that the phone number they'd give you would be US based.
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

After some checking it seems that AT&T service is still not available on Holland America ships due to the ongoing dispute with SeaMobile.  The funny thing is that SeaMobile bought another wireless provider last year, who in turn owns 49% of a company in which AT&T owns the other 51%.  You guessed it, that company is a competitor of SeaMobile and that was the carrier that Holland America was using until they signed a new contract with SeaMobile.  SeaMobile has roaming agreements with all of the major US carriers, except for AT&T.  Since SeaMobile seems to have no problem negotiating agreements with the other carriers, my gut feeling is that AT&T is playing hardball and is upset at Holland America for switching and is punishing them.  In reality all they are doing is making it hard on their land based customers who want to use their phones on board ship.
 
It doesn't seem like rocket science to me.  If I can not make a call while on board with my cell phone, then AT&T gets zero revenue.  If I am able to make a call, then AT&T will get some revenue, probably a pretty good chunk of the "roaming charges", which run in the $1.49 a minute range or $6.00 a month + $1.00 or so a minute.  So what's the hang up?  Sour grapes, if you ask me.  Just another example of AT&T not taking care of the paying customer.
 
Holland America has nothing to do with it, they can not force a deal between SeaMobile and AT&T.  They referred me to SeaMobile.  SeaMobile tole me they would love to have a roaming agreement with AT&T but have not been able to negotiate one.  AT&T just says "sorry, but we currently do not have a roaming agreement with SeaMobile".  If they were really interested in taking care of their customers they would either get the deal done or tell us why SeaMobile won't play ball.  This has been going on for over a year now with no end in sight.
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Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

As a follow up, for those that found the explanation hard to follow:

In May of 2006 SeaMobile purchased Maritime Telecommunications Network of Miramar. Florida. MTN was founded in 1991 and provides broadband connectivity and related services to the mobile maritime industry using state-of-the-art VSAT technology. Services include voice, data, corporate Internet and Internet cafes, compressed video, digital newspapers, an on-board television network and automated teller machines (ATMs). With installations on nearly 200 vessels today, the company has achieved impressive growth in the cruise line, oil and gas, and government/military sectors.

 

Wireless Maritime Services, LLC (WMS) was founded in February of 2004. WMS is a joint venture of AT&T (Cingular) and Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN). They provide world class roaming products, service, and support focused solely on the cruise line industry.  I read that AT&T held a 51% stake in the company.

 

On September 20, 2006, SeaMobile released this press statement: SeaMobile Enterprises, the dominant global service provider of at-sea communications, connectivity and content services, announced today it has signed an agreement with Holland America Line, the leader in the cruise industry’s premium cruise segment. SeaMobile will provide wireless cellular phone and PDA services for Holland America Line’s guests throughout the world. Installations of wireless broadband communications equipment will begin on board Holland America’s entire fleet of 13 ships later this year.

 

SeaMobile replaced WMS as the provider of cellular service to Holland America ships.  So, in effect, SeaMobile replaced a company in which it owns 49%.  But AT&T owns 51% of that company, so they lost some revenue as a result.  And now they are taking it out on their customers by leaving us without service while at sea on Holland America.  On ships that use WMS, AT&T service is available.  On ships that use SeaMobile, it is not.  Even though SeaMobile owns 49% of WMS.

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Guru

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

A minor correction.  Martime Partners uses country code +88 with a region code of 32. Most cheap phone cards cannot connect to this number.  The one that did wanted $6 per minute.  
Message 11 of 15 (4,518 Views)
Tutor

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

For all the money those two CEOs are making, you'd think they could make nice and sign an agreement.  Looks like the only way this is goi ng to get done though is for AT&T to buy SeaMobil.
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Mentor

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

[ Edited ]
As the person who started this thread a couple of months ago, I am happy to report that AT&T is, at least, $500 less rich because of their(Keep it courteous)maritime cellular coverage dispute! Smiley Very Happy
 
I sailed aboard Holland America Line's flagship, ms Amsterdam, from Seattle to Singapore in September/October (fabulous in EVERY respect!)....and, mid-way through the cruise, my semi-elderly (sorry, Mom!) Mom became ill and required hospitalization. Luckily, I have sisters living nearby her and they were able to assist throughout the "crisis." But, of course, I was very, very concerned about my Mom's well-being and seriously considered leaving the cruise when I learned of the illness and hospitalization.
 
But, since I could NOT use my much-loved and used AT&T 8525 cell phone/pocket pc to call Mom from aboard ship -- out in the middle of the ocean much of the time -- I had to find alternative means to keep in daily touch. Many very generous and caring fellow cruisers aboard ship volunteered the use of their Verizon, Rogers and other carriers' cell phones to keep in touch with the family back in Virginia (by now on the other side of the planet, of course)...and, be able to have Mom tell me: "Don't you dare leave that ship! This is your retirement cruise! Have a wonderful cruise and then come home and tell me stories!" So, of course, I heard and I obey! (It's not nice to disobey your Mom, right? Even if you, too, are now "retired!" )
 
I estimate I spent about $500 keeping in touch by cell phone at-sea (inport most everywhere throughout Asia, I called with my AT&T phone with no problem at all....another $300 AT&T DID get out of me!)....and I paid for the use of my generous shipmates' cell phones by buying lots of after-dinner drinks. Everyone was happy (REAL happy! Smiley Wink ) ....and AT&T is $500 poorer! Thanks, AT&T! Smiley Happy


Message Edited by scoobydoo on 01-11-2008 11:52:36 PM
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Mentor

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

I just chedked and AT&T now has Holland America listed as one of their cruise lines so it looks like they signed the agreement!
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Mentor

Re: No AT&T Cell Service on Holland America Line?

Tarheel72 -
 
THANKS for checking on this! You made my day!  Smiley Very Happy And my upcoming 33-day cruise aboard Holland America Line's ms Amsterdam!
 
This agreement must have been signed very recently....because just a couple of weeks ago, Holland America Line was still missing from AT&T's roaming listings....despite their new ads that AT&T could now be used "aboard more than 78 major cruise ships." Looks like, with the addition of HAL's 14 great ships....AT&T can now say "almost 100 major cruise ships"!
 
Thanks again! Smiley Very Happy
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