Emirates has extended its commitment to deploy AeroMobile's in-flight mobile connectivity solution on a further 84 aircraft.

The agreement covers the installation of eXPhone, Panasonic Avionics' branding of partner AeroMobile's hardware, on Emirates' Boeing 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs.

Emirates launched connectivity with AeroMobile in March 2008, and aims to fit its entire fleet with connectivity. It's original commitment with AeroMobile covered 98 aircraft, but "three were moved over to this latest commitment so, in effect, it's 95 plus 84", an AeroMobile spokesman explains to ATI and Flightglobal.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The eXPhone system allows Emirates passengers to use their mobile phones, smart phones and BlackBerry devices to make and receive voice calls and SMS text messages in-flight, along with data services such as emails.

An on-screen notification application - which alerts passengers that they are receiving a cell phone call through the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system - is still under development by AeroMobile and Panasonic.

However, because eXPhone is integrated with the Panasonic eX2 IFE system on board Emirates' aircraft, "this provides a platform that will be able to deliver this kind of application in the future", says the spokesman.

Separately, Emirates has a deal in place with AeroMobile rival OnAir to offer in-flight connectivity, including Wi-Fi, to its new Airbus A380 fleet.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news