Virgin Australia has fitted new technology to its aircraft that could provide their passengers with in-flight voice calls, SMS, and GPRS (3G) data usage.
The airline’s latest 737-800s have been fitted with AeroMobile’s connectivity technology that will support in-flight phone usage.
Currently, the system is being used for crew communications but the service could easily be switched on for passengers. Unlike Europe and the US, Australia has already approved in-flight mobile phone usage.
This could help Australian carriers’ increase ancillary revenues and help make up for the lack of WiFi on many Australian flights.
The system is also easy for passengers to use. The connectivity is switched on when the plane reaches altitude and turned back off when decent begins.
Anyone using the service is billed by their carrier as if they were roaming in another country. The service was rumoured to be launching earlier this year but was delayed.
This may have been connected to interference problems caused by some in-flight WiFi.