I just found out this bit of news. There is a new app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows7 devices called "iConcierge" that, beginning March 24, will allow passengers on the Epic to communicate with each other while on board, access information about on board services, schedule excursions or on board dining, and more.
Cost? l$7.95 - A CRUISE!
"Fleetwide implementation is expected in the near future."
And get this:
"Enhancements to the app for near-term deployment include ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship calling capabilities using advanced voice over IP technology. Currently, ‘off-ship’ calls using the existing cellular networks can be costly, but soon, Norwegian iConcierge users will have the opportunity to make even these calls at much more affordable rates, the company said."
I assume the are still going to charge for the Internet access @75cents/min
I would guess they would but this app has me thinking.
The communications on board through the app has to use the wireless feature of the phone. At least that is my guess since you wouldn't want to have your cell radio turned on to avoid huge charges.
So, if it uses wireless, and if as the article says they are planning to implement ship to shore and shore to ship communication using the app using voice over IP, that has to be a wireless connection also, so... and I am really guessing here, I think they are going to use a satellite internet connection for this. Maybe the new ViaSat-1 that has just gone into service. I know the ViaSat-1 is enabling sat internet providers to offer WAY more bandwidth at a cheaper price than before.
Although this is rank speculation, if I am anywhere close, they may allow internet over this connection through the app also.