Airfone Service Likely To Shut Down in December

 - September 13, 2006, 11:46 AM

Verizon has sent notices to current MagnaStar air-to-ground customers informing them that it intends to shut down the service on December 4. In the letter, Verizon said it is exploring the sale of its general aviation business.

In June, AirCell and LiveTV were the high bidders in an FCC frequency-spectrum auction for a portion of the 800-MHz air-to-ground calling band Verizon now occupies. The FCC is giving Verizon two years to vacate the AirCell portion of the spectrum and another two years before it has to be out of the business altogether. In its notice, Verizon said it would focus solely on its consumer wireless and broadband businesses. “As such, Verizon has determined to exit the air-to-ground business,” the letter says. The move is reminiscent of AT&T’s exit from the air-to-ground calling market in 2002, when it cut off Claircom customers in September of that year.