Panasonic plans to offer connectivty in China from Q4

Washington DC
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Panasonic Avionics' customers will now be able to connect to broadband wi-fi in and over China through a memorandum of understanding with China Telecom Satellite Communications.

The agreement will allow Panasonic's 36 non-Chinese airline customers to use its eXconnect Ku-band satellite internet while flying on routes in and over China. The connectivity provider is aiming to start providing the new service in China in the fourth quarter of 2013 and will finalise the agreement in coming weeks.

"While there is still work to be done in order to complete the cooperation agreement, we have made great progress with China Telecom Satellite towards providing this very important service to our airline customers and their passengers," says Panasonic Avionics chief executive Paul Margis. "We believe China Telecom Satellite will be a very strong and effective partner for China's in-flight communication market."

Panasonic Avionics has been working on expanding its presence in the Chinese region for several years. It opened an office in Hong Kong in 2009 and in 2011 signed a letter of intent to provide connectivity on the Comac C919 through passengers' own devices.

Air China became the first Chinese airline to operate wi-fi equipped flight using Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband service on 3 July.