Passenger In-Flight Mobile Use Exceeds 40% On Malaysia Airlines


31 March, 2009 – Passengers on Malaysia Airlines are proving some of the world’s most enthusiastic users of in-flight mobiles as they embrace the award-winning AeroMobile service.

The rapid take-up has taken place since Malaysia Airlines launched the service last November, with customers taking advantage of keenly-priced calls, text messages and data services. The in-flight service is available to many destinations across Europe, Australia and the Asian region, including China and Japan. On some flights, passenger adoption has exceeded 40%.

Data devices such as Blackberry are proving popular, with data traffic on some flights exceeding 2MB, the equivalent of 40 Blackberry users sending and receiving email.

The service has benefited from collaborative marketing initiatives with leading telecoms providers in Malaysia, many launching with highly competitive pricing. As an introductory rate, a leading Malaysian Telco is charging just 0.99RM (circa. 19p) per text message. Receiving text messages is free of charge. These rates are comparable to global terrestrial cellular roaming rates.

Malaysia Airlines’ Commercial Director Dato’ Rashid Khan said: “We are delighted with passenger feedback from AeroMobile’s ongoing marketing initiatives. In line with our aim to become the World’s Five Star Value Carrier we are committed to delivering unrivalled levels of service to our passengers.

“Our cabin crew is trained to provide guidance to passengers on the usage of inflight mobile devices while maintaining privacy and comfort for all other passengers. This includes ensuring mobile phones are switched to silent mode during flights.

“I believe this has contributed to the overall positive customer experience on this service,” he said.

Bjorn-Taale Sandberg, Chief Executive Officer of AeroMobile, said: “High awareness amongst passengers, competitive pricing and a reliable platform has seen our service with Malaysia Airlines reach new heights.

“Customer feedback has been very positive. The imaginative pricing, with texts for as little as 0.99RM as an introductory offer, has really driven up usage. As we expected, data and SMS usage has been prolific, demonstrating clear passenger demand.

“We are also very well placed to upgrade our capability with Malaysia Airlines as, uniquely, the Honeywell avionics are already in place on their fleet to enable future Inmarsat SwiftBroadband upgrades later this year”.

The first Malaysia Airlines B777-200 was installed with the light weight AeroMobile system during a routine maintenance check.

About AeroMobile

AeroMobile Limited is a UK-based company which is majority owned by Telenor ASA. Since 2003, it has been pursuing the objective of developing the safe use of passengers own mobile phones and PDAs in response to market demands.

AeroMobile is the first in-flight mobile technology to be commercially available and first flew in June 2005 on Boeing’s 777-200LR ‘Worldliner’ demonstrator aircraft. It was subsequently trialled with Qantas on over 1,000 domestic Australian flights in 2007, when GSM text messaging and GPRS data services were offered to its passengers.

In March 2008, the AeroMobile system made possible the first authorised in-flight calls on a commercial flight with launch customer Emirates. Since that time, over 160,000 Emirates passengers have used AeroMobile, and it is now available on 32 aircraft – a quarter of the airline’s fleet.

AeroMobile is also in service with Malaysian Airlines, and will be rolled out on V Australia aircraft later this year.

AeroMobile is teamed with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, the Panasonic’s market-leading in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems provider, to offer the AeroMobile aircraft technology under the eXPhone brand as an integral part of Panasonic’s IFE systems. The AeroMobile system uses existing Inmarsat satellite communications systems installed on commercial aircraft, and these will be upgraded at the earliest opportunity to Inmarsat’s latest SwiftBroadband service providing further features and capabilities such as GPRS mobile data services

In September 2008, AeroMobile won the “Best Achievement in Technology 2008” award from the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA).

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