UPDATE 1: Pricing for SwiftBroadband in-flight connectivity revealed

UPDATED to include the following comment from an industry source (which, in short, means the cost to airlines is far less). “The real cost for airlines is a lot different – unsurprisingly since a) there is no existing revenue to undermine and b) the volumes are drastically different. The current offer to key airlines (like Singapore) is to match the price of Ku with SBB if they commit to staying with Inmarsat through the transition to GX. That means an effective price of $0.20-$0.30 per Mbyte, not multiple dollars per Mbyte. Not clear how they will price for cellular services, but the key is to make a data-only service available at a realistic flat rate.”

Inmarsat has not confirmed these figures.



I haven’t even called Inmarsat exec Lars Ringertz about this blog and I can already hear him telling me: “Mary, those are not the prices that Inmarsat charges its partners. We don’t control our partners’ pricing.” Except Lars would say it more eloquently than that, and with that lovely accent of his. 

Of course, Lars – or the Lars in my head – is right. But it’s also true to say that the new pricing we’re seeing for SwiftBroadband-supported in-flight connectivity services are reflective of Inmarsat’s decision to dramatically reduce the cost of SwiftBroadband.

The result is that Wi-Fi via SwiftBroadband, whether for commercial or corporate aircraft, is becoming more attractive to some operators. OnAir, the Airbus/SITA joint venture, is far and away the leader in this space, with a customer list for SwiftBroadband-based connectivity that includes Emirates, Singapore Airlines, TAM and many others.

Panasonic’s partner AeroMobile offers some SwiftBroadband-supported solutions, although it is now focused on offering mobile connectivity via Ku (while Panasonic offers Internet via Ku).

Finally, ARINC has brought a SwiftBroadband-based Wi-Fi offering to market, and has been talking to Panasonic about potential pairings (think Panasonic IFE with ARINC Wi-Fi).

So, with all that said, I invite you to watch the following video, ‘Pricing for Swiftbroadband connectivity revealed’. The figures quoted pertain to corporate aviators, most particularly the Satcom Direct service that will be provided Honeywell on its Dassault Falcon 900EX, but you get the picture. 

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