AeroMobile, the joint venture between Arinc and Telenor, could introduce its mobile phone service 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 told Flight yesterday at the World Airline Entertainment Association conference and exhibition in Miami.

However, he notes that AeroMobile has already made strides on the regulatory front. It has received approvals from a dozen national telecommunication regulators, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Sweden and United Arab Emirates.

These approvals will facilitate AeroMobile’s planned launch on two airlines within six months.

Coiley declines to identify the launch customer, but says the airline will eventually offer AeroMobile services on its entire fleet.

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 mobile telephones using the global system for mobile telecommunications (GSM). This enables about five or six voice calls and unlimited text messaging to be made simultaneously on an aircraft.

“Aircraft installation kits have been produced, service bulletins covering the installation process written and certification applications submitted to the European Aviation Safety Agency for the first installation. Our ground infrastructure, including GSM interconnect, billing and roaming systems, is fully operational and we have a growing number of telecoms regulatory approvals and roaming agreements,” says AeroMobile president Ed Montgomery.

He adds: “So AeroMobile really is ready to go. In-flight mobile communications are now a reality.”

However, AeroMobile has the ability to deliver services using future aircraft communication services, including the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband service which will become operational in 2007.

The company says it is benefiting from proven systems. Significant elements of AeroMobile’s ground telecoms infrastructure is provided by Telenor subsidiary Maritime Communications Partners, which already provides similar mobile telephony services to the maritime industry.