With Honeywell making an apparent play for the spotlight in its announcement that Malaysia Airlines is offering in-flight mobile connectivity, I figure it’s time to push out some interesting facts about Arinc/Telenor joint venture AeroMobile’s progress in general.
FACT NUMBER ONE
All of AeroMobile’s customers will move to SwiftBroadband once the technology is widely available for deployment. AeroMobile suspects the first will be Emirates. “Indeed we are in joint discussions with Inmarsat and Emirates regarding this deployment,” reveals an AeroMobile spokesman.
For now, however, Emirates offers AeroMobile connectivity over “Classic” Aero satcom systems. It has equipped 32 aircraft with AeroMobile, and is equipping an additional aircraft “it seems every week or so”, says Emirates vice-president for passenger communications Patrick Brannelly.
Emirates passengers can currently make/receive voice calls and send/receive short messages using their cell phones. “The roll-out of Swift services over the Inmarsat network, whether Swift64 or SwiftBroadband, enables passengers to use their blackberry,” notes Brannelly. He says Emirates hopes to offer data and e-mail services by the end of the year.
FACT NUMBER TWO
Qantas conducted a 10-month trial of AeroMobile services, and the trial included GPRS. The carrier in September 2008 revealed it would install AeroMobile’s technology on a number of domestic Boeing 767-300s and Airbus A330-200s, and that these aircraft will be installed with SwiftBroadband.
Qantas and AeroMobile remain committed to rolling out SwiftBroadband-based AeroMobile technology across the Qantas domestic fleet. ”We are presently working to meet regulatory and technical requirements,” says the AeroMobile spokesman.
FACT NUMBER THREE
To date the announced fleet commitment for eXPhone (the Panasonic/AeroMobile solution) is V Australia. This is a line fit delivery from Boeing and due to enter service later this year.
However, five other flag carrier airlines have opted to take the eXPhone solution due its unique integration with the Panasonic eX2 platform. “Announcements regarding these commitments will be made later this year,” says AeroMobile.