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Lsimon

No Cellular Service with AT&T iPhone on Silhouette with OnWaves (Threads Merged)

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We just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Silhouette (Dec 1 Transatlantic sailing).

 

We have new iPhone 5s through AT&T. We had counted on using these to keep in contact with those at home as we usually do. We had expected to exchange a few text messages and perhaps a short phone call or two.

 

At no time were our iPhones able to connect to the on board cellular service run by OnWaves. Our phones always indicated "No Service" and no attempts to connect were successful. In the past we've had no issues on other Celebrity ships connecting with AT&T cell phones including prior iPhone models but the service on board was always run by another company (Maritime Services) which appeared as "Celebrity at Sea" on the phones and not OnWaves.

 

We asked about this at Customer Relations even inquiring if there was some incompatibility with the newer iPhone 5 model. The customer service rep indicated he doubted it was an issue with the iPhone 5 model as customers with other phones had complained as well. He called the IT manager on board and was told that the system was turned on and worked with the test phone they used to check it and that there was nothing else they could do.

 

This is particularly disturbing since I just read on another thread (click here) that Celebrity has switched several other ships to OnWaves from the prior service provider they'd been contracting with.

 

So be aware that your cell phones might not have any cellular service on Celebrity and can not be relied upon for communications while on board.

Edited by Lsimon

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It is pretty sad when an ATT phone can't connect because it uses the worldwide GSM standard. There are actually four frequency bands used in GSM worldwide so it is possible that an older phone which can use only one frequency won't work, but the iphone is a world GSM phone and supports all the frequency bands.

 

My (reasonably educated) guess is that the new equipment wasn't installed correctly...and that no one on the ship had a clue what to do to correct the installation problem.

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On Reflection, the OnWaves service did work (too well, in fact) with my iPhone 4. Wife did not have her iPhone 5 with her so cannot comment on that. Maybe there is a problem with the 4g iPhone 5 if everything else checked out. Did you check to see if the internet worked with your iPhone?

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Now that you mention it... while on our recent Reflection cruise, my phone was on most of the time. I did notice that it had no service everytime I looked. Did not think much of it then.

 

Have always had good service throughout the ship on most cruises.

 

hmmmmm...

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Hi Everyone,

 

Larry - Thanks very much for the information. I do not have an iPhone, but had very poor reception and other assorted issues regarding data updates for my Verizon/Samsung phone on Eclipse.

 

Perhaps it was due to them installing a new satellite on the 11/17 sailing... but whatever they did, showed no improvement from what I saw. Perhaps they were still making the upgrade while I was onboard, and it's much better now.

 

Let's hope Celebrity will see these posts, and make the necessary updates. Happy Holidays !

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Ouch do you know if this impacted on all cellphone users. I have no idea what provider were route through (we are EE in the UK) but have never had anything other than minor issues- before usually due to location and we had no coverage on shore either in these instances.

We have a trip coming up on Solstice with 10 sea days as I recall, it will be essential we can get text messages in particular in that period which is how we keep track of elderly relatives. I do hope this is not going to be a fleetwide issue, but rather hope the issue was incorrect installation - certainly the on board IT people have never filled me with any confidence, sadly I found I knew more about Ipads than the gentleman on Summit this summer and those who know me will realise what an insult that is!

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OnWaves says they support both GSM and CDMA.

 

" With a combination of the latest technologies; excellent voice and data quality, redundant fiber links to all major VSAT satellite providers, up to date services and seamless service for GSM and CDMA phones, On-Waves brings to both passengers and crew members, an on-board wireless experience matching that which users experience on land."

 

It is interesting that their 8 satellite locations are in Europe and North America. It will be interesting to see what the quality of service is for cruises in Asia , South America and Australia ....

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I've heard of some potential issues with iphone5 not connecting to a 2G GSM (what is on the ships) network. I believe the older iphones had a setting to select 2G only (or disable 3G) but is now replaced with an LTE toggle on phones/carriers that have LTE. So, it could be an issue of both the phone and how the carrier (ATT) has set up the SIM to register on roaming networks.

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On Reflection, the OnWaves service did work (too well, in fact) with my iPhone 4. Wife did not have her iPhone 5 with her so cannot comment on that. Maybe there is a problem with the 4g iPhone 5 if everything else checked out. Did you check to see if the internet worked with your iPhone?

 

We never tried to get on the internet using the ship's wi-fi with our cell phones as we had an iPad we used successfully for that. But since the on-board wi-fi and cellular systems are completely unrelated to each other I doubt that a shortfall in one would impact the other.

 

We did use the phones on the land in Europe both for voice, text and internet. We had subscribed to an international data roaming package through AT&T (which is good on land but not on the ships) and it worked fine on our phones.

 

This reminds me of two other interesting points. We also had a iPad with us and the iPad would connect to the cellular system on board even though we didn't use it on the system at all. It is a 3G iPad that works with the ATT Cellular data at home. On the ship it did say "OnWaves" in the spot where it identified the carrier and had 5 bars in our cabin. Interesting that it was able to pick up a signal when the iPhones wouldn't. Also - one fellow passenger said his iPhone 4 also showed "No Service".

 

Ouch do you know if this impacted on all cellphone users....

I do not know this. I mentioned this to a few others on board but only one person had tried the cellular service (iPhone 4 on AT&T) and he had no service as well. The desk clerk at Customer Relations relayed that the IT manager indicated their "test phone" worked but I have no idea what that phone type nor regular carrier might have been.

 

Of course I have no idea which ships this impacts other than the Silhouette (although the link in my initial post indicated OnWaves is the contractor on the Eclipse and Reflection as well) and I have no idea if the problem related to an inherent system shortfall or a switch someone forgot to flip.

Edited by Lsimon

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Did you have international service activated with ATT?

 

Yes. We had no problem connecting with cellular service for text messages and other services while within range of shore based services but were unable to connect to the ship's system when it was on while at sea and out of range of shore based services.

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It could be a ship related issue. On the Reflection TA in November, my Blackberry with ATT service showed “ON WAVES” as the carrier on the ship. I had no problems with text messaging and voice calls while on board.

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This makes me a little nervous. We are sailing on Connie in March. I am going without my 4 boys (age 11-4) and need to be able to call them nightly. When we sailed last year we had poor reception but I was still able to call home. Hopefully they fix it.

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I had the EXACT same issue with my iPhone 5 on the ship. Husband's iPhone 4 easily picked up the On Waves signal. Completely frustrating for me!!! Could not connect at all, except when we passed through Gibraltar and when we got close to the Bahamas. Really a disconcerting feeling for me.

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I was on the same Eclipse cruise recently as Host Andy and I could not get cellular service on my iPhone 4S. I had no problem getting on the Internet with it, however. In the past, I have always been able to find the shipboard cellular network.

 

Googling the problem on my laptop, I found a few suggested fixes which I tried to no avail. At one point my phone did see the On Waves network but couldn't connect to it. The constant searching for a cellular network drained my battery faster than usual.

 

I rarely need cell service while on a cruise, but this time I missed a call from ADT that our home alarm had gone off (false alarm) and since I couldn't respond, police were sent to the house unnecessarily.

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I don't have an iPhone (mine is a Droid 3 global), but I had some problems with my phone on Silhouette in October. I have no idea if this would be similar for an iPhone.

 

I had my phone set on "global" to automatically detect the best network (GSM or CDMA) for coverage. I had no problems with service during our various port stops - some CDMA, some GSM. My phone would automatically connect to the correct network for that port.

 

On the ship, however, I couldn't get it to automatically switch networks. If I was in a CDMA port, the phone would connect to the On Waves CDMA service when the port was out of range. If I was in a GSM port, my phone would not automatically switch to CDMA mode when the port was out of range nor would it connect to the ship's GSM network. It would say no service.

 

I eventually learned how to overcome this. If we were leaving a GSM port, I had to manually switch my phone to CDMA only instead of global so it would connect to the On Waves tower. Once I did that, it worked fine with the ship tower. I had to manually switch it back to global when we were in port.

 

I don't know if that solution will work for iPhones, but it's worth a try.

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kyriecat:

We had AT&T version of the iPhones which do not include the CDMA capabilities.

 

Interestingly enough, when I tried to manually select a newtwork through the phone settings, rather than allow automatic selection, the phone listed the OnWaves signal but still wasn't able to connect even if I selected it.

Edited by Lsimon

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There is a major problem w/ the last 3 Soltice shipes that use OnWaves as the satellite provider. Whether it's a AT&T Iphone, Verizon CDMA phone, Sprint, T-mobile, etc, there are problems connecting to OnWaves while at sea. I do not see Celebrity addressing this at all and find it un-professional when a on-board IT person makes a statement like, the test phone worked.... It is not your phones everyone, there is a connectivity problem between OnWaves and the cell phones but Celebrity is NOT addressing it. Does anyone know how to contact the IT department at Celebrity? My (and others) attempts at calling and emailing Celebrity have gone un-answered. It would be appreciated

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I certainly consider the issues reported to be major and like others I am depended on my phone to allow me to cruise I need to be able to be contacted.

I hope this is able to be escalated with Celebrity quickly and that it gets resolved as in this day and age they cannot expect to attract customers if they cannot provide reliable access to network and phone providers

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Whose definition is major?

 

It's major when your phone doesn't work. :rolleyes: Probably not major to the guy whose does.

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Whose definition is major?

Major is just what it states. If you offer a service and people cannot use it when the problem is reported over and over again, goes un-fixed, and never is responded too after repeated pleas to have it fixed, I would consider something like that major. Celebrity is the one claiming to offer cell phone service on their ships. If it isn't working, it should either be fixed or not offered. We should not have to go through email after email without resolution or explanation.

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We were on the Equinox in May. I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 with Bell Canada and I had no problems connecting to the shipboard system. I used it only once to send a text message which got through. Most of the time, though, I waited to be on shore to make my calls. For those who are worried about emergency calls from home, there is direct calling to the ship by calling 877-266-1020. From outside the U.S., they can call 732-335-3296. The cost is $7.95 USD a minute.

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