MEBA: TrueNorth introduces GSM-based mobile phone system

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Canada's TrueNorth Avionics (stand 393) has introduced a GSM-based mobile phone system that allows business jet owners and operators to offer airborne voice and text services.

The system, branded Simphone Mobile, will allow passengers and crew to talk and text with their own mobile phones from the moment they board the aircraft.

It does this by using TrueNorth's Simphone Chorus system, which provides internet access, wi-fi, enterprise email and high-definition onboard voice capabilities, says the company.

TrueNorth has begun shipping Simphone Mobile and is booking orders for delivery in the second quarter of 2012, says its chief executive Mark van Berkel.

"We're seeing early enthusiasm for the system, and have already shipped several systems for installation on VVIP aircraft in the Middle East," he adds.

Berkel says Simphone Mobile's advantage is that it allows passengers and crew the convenience of connecting with their contacts via their own personal devices.

"This makes travelling easier, because I don't have to give out a different phone number when I have to fly," says van Berkel.

"This is why TrueNorth developed Simphone Mobile - to leverage people's own communication styles. It is the first and only GSM solution designed specifically for business jets: to make it easier for passengers and crew to stay connected and be effective."

The Simphone Mobile single line-replaceable unit (LRU) is installed alongside the Simphone Chorus system in business jets.

It supports international roaming and airtime charges just like ground-based GSM systems, and the charges are billed to the mobile phone owner's account.