In 2010, 94 per cent of internet access on board took place via desktops or laptops, with tablets and smartphones making up just 6 per cent. By 2014, that breakdown had been reversed, with 80 per cent of internet activity taking place on mobile devices, and desktops/laptops reduced to 20 per cent.
In addition to the changing methods that passengers and crew are using to access data, the volume of data consumed has also risen exponentially, with MTN reporting that MB consumption on its services has increased more than 500 per cent over the course of the last two years.
This has been driven by changing usage patterns, but also by an increase in the number of passengers accessing online services, which has risen by 40 per cent.
Crew use has also been on the rise during the last two years, with a 50 per cent increase in the number of MB consumed per user, and the number of users up more than 35 per cent.
MTN has tried to keep pace with this demand by launching a hybrid terrestrial broadband network (TBN) to mix land-based wireless data services near shore with satellite connectivity, a service which the company says is now delivering capacity of up to 588 GB per hour at 29 cruise ports.
On this network vessels have exceeded speeds of 50 Mbps downstream at one time, says MTN, consuming 175-200 GB of data per average port visit.