Aircell recently completed its acquisition of Airfone from LiveTV. The agreement includes LiveTV’s 1-MHz air-to-ground spectrum license, as well as the Airfone in-flight communications service, network infrastructure and back-office operational assets. To expand capabilities, Aircell’s Gogo in-flight Internet service will branch into Airfone’s frequencies, which are adjacent to those currently used by Gogo and Gogo Biz. To accommodate this expansion, the Airfone service will be permanently decommissioned on December 31.
Air-ground radiotelephone service
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport-based Constant Aviation has completed an STC for Aircell’s Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and Wi-Fi system in the Phenom 300. It is the first such approval for the Phenom 300 and includes a satellite phone.
Satellite communications capabilities on board commercial aircraft have advanced rapidly in recent years with airline passengers using broadband Internet, WiFi, text messaging and mobile phones in flight and now business aircraft users are starting to reap the rewards.
AirCell, the Louisville, Colo. company that pioneered airborne cellular communication technology in the 1990s, has gained patent approval for a new type of communications system that will let passengers use their personal cellphones to place calls in flight over much of the U.S.
Passengers flying on the company jet may soon be allowed to use their personal cellphones to make and receive calls.
AirCell Inc. and Iridium Satellite LLC have reached an agreement that would allow AirCell to offer Iridium-based satellite communications products and services. As part of the agreement, AirCell is expanding its airborne telecommunications product line by developing new Iridium-based products to be offered through AirCell’s existing network of U.S. dealers, as well as through a newly formed and expanding network of international dealers.
In a boost for Louisville, Colo.-based AirCell (Booth No. 1630), Gulfstream has selected the company’s Axxess cabin communications system as standard equipment aboard its line of large-cabin business jets spanning the G300 through G550.
Verizon Airfone has sent letters to customers informing them that the MagnaStar air-to-ground phone service will stay on the air until at least the end of next year. The service extension gives business aircraft operators flying with MagnaStar gear an extra year to explore alternatives, which for many will likely involve upgrading to Iridium or Inmarsat satcom equipment.
As most of its customers know by now, AirCell no longer actively markets airborne cellular systems, mainly because new digital cellular technology is rendering much of its existing analog-based ground network obsolete–but that doesn’t mean the AirCell name is a misnomer.
With all other serious contenders out of the running, AirCell appears likely to win an FCC auction for a coveted slice of frequency spectrum that will enable the Englewood, Colo. company to provide air-to-ground high-speed Wi-Fi services.