Verizon Airfone Going Out of Service

 - November 14, 2006, 11:52 AM

Verizon Airfone notified customers on July 7 it has "determined to exit the air-to-ground business" and will shut down Airfone on December 4. Teledyne Controls sold 4,100 MagnaStar systems, which use the Airfone network, and will continue to support the systems indefinitely, said a Teledyne Controls spokesman. MagnaStar owners shouldn't get rid of their systems, he said, because they remain useful as onboard PBXs for satcoms, not to mention that companies have indicated interest in buying the Airfone network. During a recent FCC auction, AirCell bought the spectrum that includes Airfone's 800-MHz operating frequency, and JetBlue Airways' LiveTV also won part of the available spectrum up for bid. Under terms of the sale, Airfone could operate for two more years using a portion of the AirCell spectrum, then two more on LiveTV's spectrum. Teledyne stopped selling MagnaStar systems at the end of last year, when it sent an end-of-life warning letter to customers.