Aircraft passengers should be able to use their own cellphones in flight safely and conveniently before the end of this year through a new service developed jointly by satellite operator Inmarsat, aircraft communication systems specialist Arinc and mobile telephone service provider Telenor.
Customer knowledge today about office-in-the-sky communications technology seems to be similar to the level of understanding of personal computers 10 to 15 years ago. Buyers then knew they needed a PC of some sort but many remained unclear about exactly what kind of computer they needed.
Today’s world, including the business jet, is all about being connected. The executives now moving into the cabins of these aircraft are more aware than any previous generation of the need to stay in touch with events below.
These are customers for whom being isolated for just a few hours can cost a deal. Every day, in every way, they are connected–to the office, the broker, the stock market, the clients, and to the wife and kids.
Cessna Aircraft has selected the AirCell Axxess satcom system as a factory option on the Citation X, Sovereign and XLS. Axxess, introduced at the NBAA Convention last month, is a multi-channel, wireless broadband-ready satcom system designed for midsize to large business jets. The standard Axxess system includes two Iridium satellite communications channels for voice and narrowband data services. Two more channels are available as an option.
The six-ton, London-double-decker-bus-size Inmarsat-4 communications satellite that Inmarsat launched in late March has taken over satcom transmission routing responsibility from the previous Inmarsat-3 satellite covering the Indian Ocean Region, according to company officials.
The Boeing 777-200LR making its airshow debut here this week is to be fitted with AeroMobile mobile cellular technology later this year. The 777-200LR here is the second prototype and is being used primarily for interior certification. AeroMobile, the result of a partnership formed by Arinc and Telenor, is designed to leverage Inmarsat’s “classic” Aero-H, -H+ and -I satellite communications services currently available.
Satellite communications specialist Thrane & Thrane is here at the Dubai airshow with a new compact portable satellite terminal. The Explorer 500 weighs less than three pounds, but offers data rates up to 432 kbps.
Arinc Direct plans to deploy its Skylink broadband satellite service for business aircraft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) by the end of this year.
The Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner which made a record flight between Hong Kong and London earlier this month was equipped with technology from AeroMobile, a joint venture between Arinc and Telenor, enabling passengers to use cell phones en route.
Widespread testing has proven that new technology allows for in-flight use of cell phones without disrupting terrestrial networks. Now developers face the challenge of winning airworthiness approval for the systems and the licenses to use the relevant frequencies.