Three UK has today launched a national campaign to provide free mobile internet access to ports across the UK.
The mobile network provider is running the initiative with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, and aims to connect international seafarers with families and friends using Facebook, Skype, Twitter, email and other internet communications tools.
It has provided 32 mobile WiFi hotspots to the national charity, which aims to promote welfare services to seafarers. Each device will be loaded with 15GB of data per month, enough to make 1,500 10 minute Skype calls per month or send around 75,000 emails. The MiFi devices are enabled with the latest HSPA+ technology, which provides a faster mobile internet experience than standard 3G.
The Merchant Navy Welfare Board works with ship welfare organisations across the UK assisting seafarers with anything from shopping, taking them to medical appointments and helping them contact relatives across the globe.
The donation is part of Three’s Community Fund, which launched in January and allows employees to nominate a different charity to benefit every month.
Merchant Navy welfare board’s port welfare manager, Carolyn Lewis, said: ‘Working at sea can be very dangerous and isolating. Many contracts will last a minimum of six months and seafarers are expected to work long hours, seven days a week. The lack of communication between seafarers and their families can add to the stress of working at sea.
‘Many seafarers visiting UK ports have smartphones but no connectivity while at sea and when on land, international roaming can be very expensive. With this initiative, ship welfare visitors are able to help seafarers get connected and keep in touch with their families and friends even if they’re only in port for a few hours.’
Three’s director of corporate affairs, Hugh Davies said: ‘We have invested heavily in our network so that customers receive the best possible data experience. This means that when customers connect their smartphone, tablet or laptop, they enjoy effortless streaming, clear internet calls and fast browsing.
‘For seafarers, a connection to one of our portable MiFi devices means it’s free and easy for them to stay in contact with loved ones.’
Editor: Shujaul Azam