COMING AND GOING
It's occurring at the same day that Carnival Cruiselines is announcing that it'll introduce a service by Wireless Maritime Services, (a joint venture between AT&T/Cingular and Maritime Communications Services), that enables traveler's regular cell phones to work on most of it's ships by next year.
Might have to finally consider taking a cruise in 2007.
A service with great promise, I remember Airfone as a service that got me out of jams a few times when I absolutely, positively had to reach someone on the ground.
But most of the time, I remember it as a service that frustrated me by not giving me an out-going line when needed, and/or blinking out in the middle of a call, and/or giving me the scratchiest, most barely audible voice signal, while charging me a king's ransom per minute.
All the time making me constantly swipe my credit card on the darn device like my life depended on it.
Don't worry, we won't be totally phone-less in the air. As Dailywireless.org reports in a technically detailed article,
In the meantime, the Carnival service sounds more promising, as Mobiledia describes it:
"...the service is compatible with any cell phone and allows guests to make and receive calls anywhere in the world from any cruising region.
The new cell phone service requires no additional software or special dialing procedures - guests simply make and receive calls as well as transmit text and multimedia messages as they would on land using their personal cell phone. International roaming fees apply to all shipboard cell phone calls."
Translation: you'll be able to use your own cell phone to make and receive calls, but you'll only pay a Prince's ransom per minute for the privilege.
The more things change, the more they remain more or less the same.