Arinc has become a distribution partner (DP) for Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satellite communication services, allowing it to buy and resell airtime directly. According to the company, its new position as a SwiftBroadband wholesaler, which took effect April 1, will better enable it to offer tailored communications solutions to aircraft operators. It should also give Arinc stronger buying power with Inmarsat, allowing it to offer more competitive airtime packages to its customers.
According to Arinc, its position as an Inmarsat DP will allow it to have a closer technical interface with clients, giving it a better understanding of operator’s actual SwiftBroadband usage. This will allow it to offer more purpose-built services such as “granular” billing whereby the aircraft operator can clearly differentiate the various ways the service is used, facilitating, for instance, onward billing to its clients (that is, passengers).
By having direct access to Inmarsat’s systems and tools, Arinc maintains it will be able to offer more customized solutions to aircraft operators. It will be able to offer services such as monitoring and alerting for specific customer needs, as well as provide improved diagnostic and troubleshooting support for the satcom connections.
“Arinc plans to provide SwiftBroadband connectivity in a one-stop transaction,” said Andy Hubbard, Arinc Aviation Solutions director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Our customers will not need to source a communications pipe separately as it will be part of a package with flight applications, connectivity software and technical support.”
In addition to SwiftBroadband, Arinc also offers all the “classic” Inmarsat satcom services–AeroH, AeroH+, AeroI and Swift64. SwiftBroadband is available through Inmarsat’s latest I-4 satellites and offers simultaneous voice and standard Internet protocol data at rates of up to 432 kbps per channel. Currently, the service is limited to two channels per aircraft but is set to increase to four channels from 2012. Higher bandwidth can be achieved through combining channels.
SwiftBroadband can support both crew and passenger applications such as voice communications, electronic flight bag data transfers, in-flight mobile phone use, text messaging, e-mail and instant messaging, as well as Internet and Intranet access. Arinc (Booth No. 326) is introducing specific cabin applications such as live-text news, real-time credit card authorization and onboard Internet access.
Arinc will continue to provide satcom connections offered by the competing Iridium and Skylink Ku-Band services. According to Arinc senior director Bob Richard, the company will ensure that satellite services are provided in a seamless and integrated manner even if an operator has several different systems active within its fleet, and with one common telephone number to reach any of the aircraft. It will also combine billing for the various services on one monthly invoice.
Inmarsat (Booth No. 1539) has seven SwiftBroadband DPs throughout the ground, maritime and aeronautical markets. The aeronautical sector accounts for between 11 and 12 percent of its revenues, having been only around 3 or 4 percent a few years ago.