Aircell said its Gogo Biz service–launched in 2009 as an Internet-only service for the business aviation market–is expanding to include voice capabilities that will allow crewmembers and passengers to text and call in flight from their own smartphones, using their existing mobile numbers, starting October 1.
Monthly voice plans for Gogo Biz will start at $134.95, which includes 60 minutes of talk time, according to Aircell. The “two-in-one” service will offer Internet and voice capabilities from a single system, which reduces equipment requirements and installation costs, said Aircell.
In flight, crewmembers and passengers can use the new Gogo Biz voice capabilities on their own smartphones and/or with Aircell’s new cabin handsets. The Gogo Text & Talk service that allows onboard calls from smartphones works via Wi-Fi, not cellular, Aircell said. It will be available for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 on October 1; support for “select” Android devices will begin November 1. Meanwhile, the Gogo OnePhone, Aircell’s new Android-based cabin handset, will start shipping on October 15. It will be available in wired and wireless options.