First inflight 3G network takes the skies

First inflight 3G network takes the skies

Inflight mobile service provider AeroMobile has launched a 3G network, promising “a step change” in connectivity in the air.

A UK-based subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics, AeroMobile has installed the first inflight 3G network on an Air Berlin aircraft and will initially fit one aircraft a month. However, Air Berlin’s entire fleet will have 3G installed.

AeroMobile said the 3G services would be “much closer to those experienced on the ground”, offering “faster browsing, bigger attachments, quicker posts and more responsive apps and gaming”.

It described deploying 3G over a satellite network as “a challenge both technically and commercially”. The company has been installing inflight mobile technology on commercial aircraft since 2008.

AeroMobile chief executive Kevin Rogers said: “It’s extremely exciting that we now offer passengers 3G connectivity. This provides a significant change to the speed of connectivity using phones inflight.”

He described the service as easy to use, saying passengers “simply turn on their phone to connect to the onboard 3G network and are billed direct by their home operator”.

AeroMobile will begin to installing 3G connectivity on other partner airlines “in the months ahead”.

The company’s service is available on carriers including Aer Lingus, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Emirates, Etihad Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

A spokeswoman said: “We expect nearly all of them to upgrade [to 3G] over time.”

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