My colleague Graham Dunn has secured an update from Arinc about its new on-board Internet service, branded Oi, which will utilize Inmarsat’s new higher bandwidth SwiftBroadband aeronautical service, and allow passengers to acces a mixture of cached and live web content via their laptops.
Here are the key points from Graham’s story:
1) Arinc expects the first commercial aircraft equipped to support Oi to be fitted before the end of the year and first services to begin in the first quarter of next year.
2) While not able to disclose customer names, Arinc’s director of aviation solutions for Europe, Middle East and Asia, Andy Hubbard says the firm is making “good progress” on its on-board Internet product.
3) Hubbard says first deployment of the service in the business aviation market could be even earlier.
4) Hubbard says Arinc’s main focus is on the laptop solution, while Arinc/Telenor joint venture AeroMobile is mainly focused on handheld devices connectivity. “We both have core capabilities and solutions,” he explains.
As we know, AeroMobile is seeing growing customer take-up of its service on board launch customer Emirates (32 aircraft and counting).
I recently spoke to both AeroMobile and Emirates about the carrier’s current mobile connectivity, and its future SwiftBroadband plans. AeroMobile suspects Emirates will be the first of its customers to move to SwiftBroadband. Emirates vice-president for passenger communications Patrick Brannelly says the airline hopes to offer data and e-mail services by the end of the year.
BUT, will Emirates offer Oi to passengers? Last year at the Interiors Expo in Hamburg, IFE reporter extraordinaire Brendan Gallagher hinted at just that, saying Emirates’ A380 would make the perfect platform for Oi. And indeed it would.