Aircell adds VoIP-based voice option for bizav operators

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Aircell later this year will add voice capabilities to its air-to-ground (ATG)-based Gogo Biz in-flight Internet service for business aircraft.

The so-called Gogo Biz Voice solution uses voice over IP (VoIP) technology via Aircell's ATG network in the United States.

It allows "multiple calls and Internet sessions to happen simultaneously, and it also allows very, very high quality voice without using a lot of bandwidth (like traditional VoIP solutions do)", says an Aircell spokesman, noting that the solution "will use Quality of Service (QoS) software" in the network.

From an aircraft equipment perspective, Gogo Biz provides in-flight Internet - and soon the optional voice service - through Aircell's ATG 4000/5000 systems. Upgrade paths will be offered to current ATG 4000/5000 owners wishing to add Gogo Biz Voice to their existing in-field installations, says Aircell.

The company says it will also introduce an expanded suite of Gogo Biz monthly service plans, allowing customers to choose both voice and data packages that meet their individual needs and usage patterns.

Gogo Biz Voice will be compatible with the newly unveiled Aircell Smartphone, a next-generation cabin handset based on the Android operating system.

"No other network service can match Gogo Biz's combination of Internet performance, voice quality, small equipment size and affordability. Gogo Biz is already the fastest-selling service in our history, and we expect interest to increase even further as voice is introduced," says Aircell executive vice-president and general manager, business aviation services John Wade.

By the end of 2010, orders and shipments for the Gogo Biz service were approaching 1,000 units, making it the fastest-selling service in the company's history, according to Aircell.