MagnaStar To Remain on the Air through End 2008
Verizon Airfone has sent letters to customers informing them that the MagnaStar air-to-ground phone service will stay on the air until at least the end of next year. The service extension gives business aircraft operators flying with MagnaStar gear an extra year to explore alternatives, which for many will likely involve upgrading to Iridium or Inmarsat satcom equipment. Verizon Airfone exited the airline market last year after AirCell bought the frequency spectrum used for the service for its upcoming aeronautical broadband service, due to start early next year. Verizon originally told customers it would shut off the MagnaStar service at the end of last year before deciding to extend the deadline first to December 2007 and now until the end of 2008. Under its spectrum agreement with the FCC, Verizon must exit the aeronautical market in 2010, meaning a further reprieve for MagnaStar remains a possibility. About 4,100 business aircraft fly with the equipment.