AeroMobile chief executive Pal Bjordal believes the rapid roll-out of its in-flight mobile connectivity service over the next couple of years will build real momentum in the sector.
The service is equipped on more than a 100 aircraft with Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Malaysia Airlines and will be equipped on another 100 this year on a further nine carriers.
"If this was a normal telco business, it would have happened years ago," notes Bjordal. "But this is the airline business and one of the things we were not used is the certification process.
"Now we are getting to a point where it is coming together and the price of the satellites is coming down," he adds. "I think this year we'll have a huge number of aircraft [installed] but next year will be the real rush of aircraft." Aeromobile currently has 770 aircraft commitments.
Customer installations this year will be over the Ku-band network and Bjordal believes this higher bandwidth is crucial to meeting the shift in demand towards data. "We see a healthy growth in SMS, but where we really see the growth is in the data," he says. "That is why we see the need for higher capacity service to provide a full 3G experience."