MTN Satellite Communications said it will begin rolling out new technology for cruise ships that promises faster Internet service at lower cost.

The company's Nexus product will be a hybrid of satellite and ground connectivity. Ships moving into port will be switched seamlessly to land WiFi networks and their satellite bandwidth will be flipped to other ships still at sea.

The combination will reduce the need for costly satellite bandwidth, said Errol Olivier, president of MTN.

"Satellite bandwidth is only part of the solution," Olivier said.

Nexus will be backwards compatible with technology on existing ships, Olivier said. MTN is the main satellite services provider for most cruise lines.

A key driver for developing Nexus was the desire by cruise lines and their passengers to use social media in real time while they are on the ships, he said.

"It allows us to bring very popular applications like Facebook, Instagram, all of the social media content you see today," on board.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.com.

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