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Continental to test LiveTV’s Kiteline in 1Q

Continental Airlines plans to experiment with LiveTV's Kiteline product beginning in the first quarter by offering the basic connecitivity solution on roughly 30 of its narrowbody aircraft.

Carrier president Jeff Smisek recently detailed the plans to trial Kiteline in an interview with ATI sister publication Airline Business.

Smisek says the service will permit Continental's customers to use Wi-Fi enabled devices such as Blackberries and iphones to send and receive email free of charge as opposed to price points of $9.95 and $12.95 currently charged to passengers by some carriers for connectivity.

Kiteline supports free messaging and e-mail using the 1MHz slice of air-to-ground (ATG) spectrum that LiveTV acquired during the US Federal Communications Commission's 2006 auction of 4HHz of spectrum in the 800MHz band allocated to ATG services.

"We'll see whether it is a sufficient product," says Smisek. "It may or may not be. I think many of our business customers like the concept of being in touch, but don't necessarily want to watch streaming YouTube videos inflight and certainly do not want ot pay $12.95 or $9.95 to do so."

But those customers could very well like the convenience of sending and receiving emails free of charge. Smisek explains if the product works and customers view Kiteline favourably, Continental could introduce the connectivity solution across a broad range of its domestic fleet.

Continental is currently rolling-out LiveTV's latest product offering LTV3 across its mainline domestic fleet. Recently LiveTV announced the potential to expand the LTV3 offering on the carrier's fleet from 80 channels to nearly 100 after its satellite television partner DIRECTV secured a content deal with Viacom for rights to 18 additional channels.

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