By Mary Kirby & Darren Shannon in Miami

Installation of new GSM mobile phone solution could begin by late next month once certification is secured

AeroMobile, the joint venture between Arinc and Telenor, could introduce its GSM mobile phone solution on board commercial aircraft in late October.

The company has already begun shipping equipment for installation on a Boeing 777-300 to an unidentified customer, widely believed to be Emirates.

Installations are expected to begin later this month, although a late-October launch is contingent on AeroMobile receiving certification approval by airworthiness authorities, Arinc director for aircraft mobile technology David Coiley said last week at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition in Miami.

Coiley says that AeroMobile has already received approvals from a dozen national telecommunication regulators, including those of Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. These approvals will enable AeroMobile to launch services on two airlines within six months.

Qantas also recently agreed to perform a three-month evaluation of the technology on board Boeing 767 aircraft.

Initially, AeroMobile is using Inmarsat's "classic" narrowband satellite communications for its in-flight voice and short messaging service using passengers' own GSM mobile phones. This enables about five or six voice calls and unlimited text messaging to be made simultaneously on an aircraft.

In other developments at WAEA:

■ Inmarsat is expecting to launch its last I-4 satellite at the end of next year. The third and final unit of Inmarsat's fourth generation of satellites will orbit over the Pacific Ocean, completing global coverage for the company's SwiftBroadband service.

■ Pakistan International Airlines has selected DigEcor's latest generation portable in-flight entertainment system, the DigEplayer XT, for use on its Airbus A310 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Like its predecessor, the DigEplayer XT is preprogrammed with movies, television shows, cartoons, videos, music and games, but offers a larger screen, built-in card swipe and longer battery life. Qantas Airways' low-cost subsidiary Jetstar has also ordered DigEplayer XTs for its on-order A330-200s and its existing A320 fleet.

■ A digital upgrade to Rockwell Collins' Programmable Audio Video Entertainment System (PAVES) will be available in early 2008 as a retrofit for Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft. The upgrade, called dPAVES, reduces volume by 85% and weight by 70%, says the manufacturer.

■ Thales has linked with California's Proximetry to offer a high-speed data transmission system. GateSync offers a "broadband end-to-end wireless solution to and from the aircraft allowing airlines to load daily and monthly content, and also provides airlines with a high speed wireless network service to load and off-load their crew and aircraft operational data as well", says Thales VP and general manager Brad Foreman.

Source: Flight International