Emirates may become the world’s first commercial carrier to offer customers the AeroMobile onboard cellphone service, say industry sources.
The airline (C300) would neither confirm nor deny the rumour at the show, but an announcement is expected shortly.
If the deal goes ahead AeroMobile will give Emirates’ passengers full voice and SMS services via their mobile phones at prices similar to current international GSM roaming rates. Both GSM 1800 and GSM 1900 standards will be supported and there will be complete global coverage using the Inmarsat satellite network.
In the expected installation AeroMobile would initially enable incoming/outgoing calls and text messages over the classic Inmarsat satellite communications systems already installed in more than 1,900 airliners worldwide. Future plans support the 64kbit/sec Inmarsat Swift64 and forthcoming 432kbit/sec SwiftBroadband to support GPRS data for Blackberries and other PDAs.
The Aeromobile service was demonstrated on last week’s 23h record flight of a Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner from Hong Kong to London.
During the flight more than 11h of cell phone usage were logged, including 285 air to ground calls, 50 ground to air calls, and 300 SMS text messages.
AeroMobile, a joint venture between ARINC (C703) and Telenor Satellite Services, has also announced plans to introduce an onboard cellphone service for the business aviation market.
Source: Flight Daily News