After 12 months of flight testing in 2010 and 2011 and a soft launch in 2012, Exec Jet Mobile’s BizjetMobile systems division has completed its first successful year of commercial operation on a range of corporate jets. Here at the NBAA show (Booth No. C11338), Exec Jet Mobile is displaying its full BizjetMobile product line. “There is finally an affordable wireless in-flight connectivity solution for private aircraft owners and operators,” said Exec Jet Mobile CEO Thomas Linn.
The Iridium-based BizjetMobile 4.0 system was released at the LABACE show in Brazil earlier this year. Now the company is releasing package pricing, which includes the cost of setup as well as its new GetMail feature, allowing full e-mail inbox access.
BizjetMobile 4.0 requires that one Apple iPad mini be set up to run the 4.0 app, which creates its own Bluetooth/Wi-Fi network that then allows access by other Apple devices. This permits anyone on the aircraft to tap into the network to send text messages of up to 600 characters and e-mails of up to 1,500 characters (without attachments).
No hardware installation is required, but the aircraft must be equipped with an airborne telecom system such as Aircell’s Gogo Biz or Iridium, Ku-band or SwiftBroadband satcom. In addition, the telecom system must be hooked up to an onboard Wi-Fi network.
BizjetMobile 4.0 allows up to 16 users to text and e-mail simultaneously. The advantage over direct messaging via the satcom or Aircell system is that version 4.0 uses much less bandwidth and thus the messaging costs are much lower. “It uses only about 2 percent of the bandwidth,” said Linn.
Passengers can still access most of the bandwidth they might need for other data-hungry telecom applications, while the crew can send unlimited texts and e-mails via BizjetMobile as necessary. BizjetMobile can also help prevent costly satcom usage should a passenger inadvertently leave an iPhone on, pinging the network and using up satcom bandwidth.
For version 4.0, the only service charge is a monthly fee, depending on where the aircraft flies. And each user pays $20 for the BizjetMobile app on their device, while the iPad mini-app for version 4.0 is free.
The monthly fee for all BizjetMobile devices is $399 for the U.S., or $799 for global use. This includes no limit on the number of messages.
When using BizjetMobile, each user installing the app on their device is given a unique phone number. This number is used to send and receive text messages. If the user isn’t flying and someone sends a text message or e-mail, Exec Jet Mobile’s servers will automatically route the message to the user’s normal messaging application or e-mail inbox.
Execjet Mobile’s earlier Version 2.0 and 3.0 products are still available and help passengers and crew stay in contact on aircraft with certain telecom equipment or even no equipment.
Version 2.0, released a year ago, is a portable box that is connected to an existing Iridium system, allowing the same text messaging and emailing as all Bizjet Mobile devices and services. Version 2.0 costs $35,000.
Bizjet Mobile 3.0 is also a portable system, but it comes in two versions, one for U.S.-registered aircraft that fly within the U.S. ($35,000) and a worldwide version ($45,000). Version 3.0 includes the 2.0 hardware but adds an Iridium Extreme transceiver, so no existing airborne telecom system is needed.
Execjet Mobile is offering Bizjet Mobile Version 3.0 as a replacement for Airfone systems, such as the MagnaStar system, because Airfone owner Aircell is shutting that service down at the end of the year. While Version 3.0 offers the same text messaging and emailing capability, because it has its own transceiver, it can be used to make voice calls, too. There is no extra charge for voice calls, just the same $399 U.S. and $799 worldwide per month amounts.