First half of 2014 sees 30 per cent increase in connected aircraft
London | July 29, 2014– Mobile phone users can now use their own devices on more than 245 aircraft across 13 different airlines*, thanks to connectivity provided by AeroMobile.
The number of aircraft offering the AeroMobile service, which allows passengers to use their own mobile phones inflight just as they would abroad, has increased by 30 per cent in the first six months of 2014.
AeroMobile’s inflight mobile network is now available on more than 430 flights every day, including on routes operated by Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic.
The most recent additions to the AeroMobile-connected fleet include Qatar Airways and EVA Air, while existing airline partners, including Etihad and Lufthansa, continue to roll out the service across their long-haul fleets.
Usage has also shot up across the board compared to the same period in 2013, with data seeing the highest uptake of a massive 313 per cent and the number of inflight texts increasing by 48 per cent. With connections to the AeroMobile network up an impressive 56 per cent to just over 3 million connections, it’s clear that inflight mobile connectivity is more popular than ever.
Using the service is easy; once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude simply switch on your phone, making sure ‘Airplane Mode’ is off, and connect to the AeroMobile network. AeroMobile has active roaming agreements with more than 260 mobile phone operators, including all of the major mobile service providers in the UK, and covers over 150 countries worldwide.
“In partnership with the airlines we have really accelerated the roll-out of AeroMobile connectivity this year, meaning more passengers than ever can now use their mobile phones inflight,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“We’re expecting to see continued growth in airlines, aircraft passengers and usage as the AeroMobile inflight mobile network becomes embedded within the cabin experience,” continued Rogers.
“It’s certainly a very exciting time for the company as airlines can see more than ever that passengers are expecting the same level of connectivity they experience on the ground as up in the air, which means mobile as well as WiFi!” concluded Rogers.
- New Boeing 777-300ER line-fitted with mobile services from AeroMobile
The aircraft took their delivery flights from Boeing’s Seattle headquarters in the U.S. to Taipei in Taiwan on 21 May 2014.
The two B777-300ERs are the first of seven new aircraft that will be delivered to EVA Air with inflight mobile services from AeroMobile activated.
The AeroMobile network allows passengers to roam just as they would abroad, and EVA Air passengers will be able to send SMS messages and browse the internet inflight, using their own mobile devices.
AeroMobile has roaming agreements with more than 260 mobile phone operators worldwide, including Taiwanese networks Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone / KGT and Taiwan Mobile.
The service is simple to use; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network and passengers are billed by their own mobile phone operator. Prices vary depending on individual contracts.
The first two fully-connected aircraft will primarily serve the North American market, with the service being rolled out to other destinations as more planes come into service.
“EVA Air has made a significant commitment to rolling out mobile connectivity on its new fleet, recognising the increasing demand from customers who want to stay connected whenever, wherever,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Last year we saw close to an 80 per cent increase in the number of passengers using their mobile devices in the aircraft cabin, and we expect the demand to continue to rise this year,” he continued.
“Asia is a huge growth area for AeroMobile. EVA Air is our second Asian airline customer following Singapore Airlines and a number of other Asian airlines are scheduled to launch the service in the coming months,” said Rogers.
66 per cent of travellers would use their mobile phones inflight
Hamburg, Germany | April 10, 2014– A poll of German travellers has revealed a huge appetite for inflight mobile services including SMS, email and mobile-enabled internet access in the aircraft cabin.
Over 66 per cent of Germans surveyed said they would use their mobile phones during a flight if they had the option, mainly to stay entertained during long hours in the air.
Almost half (47 per cent) of those would use an inflight mobile connection for surfing the internet and just over a fifth (21 per cent) would check social media sites, while 58 per cent would opt for text messaging.
Almost a third (32 per cent) of people said they would use the service to make a call or check voicemail at 30,000ft.
The survey of 2,000 German consumers conducted by AeroMobile, a leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry, reflects Germany’s increasing appetite for mobile technology.
More than half of people questioned said they expect inflight mobile connectivity to become standard in the next few years and 60 per cent believe an airline with an inflight mobile service is cutting edge.
“The results of this survey certainly reflect our experience at AeroMobile,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“In 2013 we saw close to an 80 per cent increase in the number of travellers using their mobile phones in the aircraft cabin and data usage on our network went up 10 fold. We also saw a 50 per cent increase in SMS traffic.”
German flag-carrier Lufthansa launched its inflight mobile phone service with AeroMobile earlier this year and has confirmed it will roll out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of over 100 aircraft.
The AeroMobile network allows passengers to roam just as they would abroad. The company has live roaming agreements with over 250 mobile phone operators worldwide, including German networks T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-Plus and O2 Germany.
Mobile data and text messaging at 30,000ft prove a hit with Brits
Hamburg, Germany | April 9, 2014– British travellers are more likely to pick up their mobile phones inflight to send an email or browse the web than to make a call from the aircraft cabin.
More than three quarters of travellers surveyed by AeroMobile, a leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry, said they would use mobile-enabled internet access to check emails, browse the internet or update their Facebook or Twitter status at 30,000ft.
More than half (55 per cent) would opt to send a text message and a quarter would use an instant messaging service, but fewer than a third (17 per cent) would make a call inflight.
Almost half of respondents said that inflight mobile services would help them alleviate the boredom of long hours spent in an aircraft cabin and over a third are looking to their own mobile devices to keep them entertained.
Almost half of people questioned said they expect inflight mobile connectivity to become standard in the next few years and over a third believe an airline with an inflight mobile service is cutting edge.
“The results of this survey certainly reflect our experience at AeroMobile,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“In 2013 we saw close to an 80 per cent increase in the number of travellers using their mobile phones in the aircraft cabin and data usage on our network went up ten-fold. We also saw a 50 per cent increase in SMS traffic.”
The AeroMobile network allows passengers to roam just as they would abroad. The company has live roaming agreements with over 250 mobile phone operators worldwide, including EE, O2, Vodafone and Three in the UK.
The service is available across eleven airlines including Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, Emirates and Lufthansa.
- Lufthansa will have the largest connected B747-8 fleet in the world
London, UK | February 6, 2014– Today, Boeing will deliver the first B747-8 to be fully line-fitted with the AeroMobile inflight mobile service. The aircraft took its delivery flight from Seattle to Frankfurt on 6 February 2014.
Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, will receive the landmark delivery, which will open the path for all future B747-8s to be fitted with AeroMobile connectivity. The German flag-carrier has confirmed it will roll out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of over 100 aircraft this year.
A registered mobile service provider for the aviation industry, AeroMobile provides the mobile network for airline passengers to roam on inflight. AeroMobile has roaming agreements with more than 240 mobile phone operators worldwide, including German networks T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-Plus and O2 Germany, as well as AT&T and T-Mobile in the USA and EE, O2, Vodafone and Three in the UK.
Lufthansa has 19 B747-8s set to enter their fleet. Nine of these aircraft have already been delivered and will be retro-fitted this year. The additional deliveries will leave the Boeing facility in Seattle fully line-fit with AeroMobile connectivity. Once all of the aircraft have been delivered, Lufthansa will have the largest B747-8 fleet in the world, all with full mobile connectivity.
The aircraft, which accommodates 362 passengers and is the world’s longest passenger airliner, will be routed to destinations such as Washington, Mexico City, Hong Kong Delhi and Bangalore. As well as AeroMobile connectivity, the B747-8 will be delivered with the full Fly-Net offering of Wi-Fi and Live TV and Mobile.
Two aircraft types have now been cleared for AeroMobile line-fit at Boeing; the B777-300ER, with recipients including Thai Airways,Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, and the B747-8. AeroMobile also operates on B747-400 and B737 aircraft.
“It’s great news that Boeing will be rolling out AeroMobile connectivity on their B747-8 fleet and Lufthansa clearly recognises the value of offering this service alongside Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment. In fact, our research show that inflight mobile connectivity actually complements inflight Wi-fi and results in increased passenger satisfaction and additional revenue for airlines,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Consumers expect to be connected 24/7 and being up in the air is no longer an exception. In 2013 we saw close to an 80 per cent increase in the number of passengers using their mobile phones in the aircraft cabin, data usage increased ten-fold and SMS traffic increased by 50 per cent.”
- German flag-carrier adds inflight mobile network to its connectivity product
London, UK | February 6, 2014– Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, has launched its inflight mobile phone service with AeroMobile, allowing passengers to use their own mobile devices to text and browse online at 30,000 feet via Lufthansa FlyNet.
With eight aircraft already in service, the German flag-carrier has confirmed it will roll out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of over 100 aircraft this year.
The AeroMobile network, which allows passengers to roam just as they would abroad, is already available across selected A330s in the Lufthansa fleet, flying from Munich and Frankfurt to North America and the Middle East.
The roll out means that this year, customers flying on any of Lufthansa’s long-haul routes will be able to stay connected using their personal mobile devices inflight.
AeroMobile has roaming agreements with more than 240 mobile phone operators worldwide, including German networks T-Mobile, Vodafone, e-Plus and O2 Germany, as well as AT&T and T-Mobile in the USA and EE, O2, Vodafone and Three in the UK.
The service is simple to use; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network, and are billed directly by their mobile operator. Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ terrestrial roaming rates.
“It’s great news that Lufthansa will be rolling out AeroMobile connectivity on their entire fleet this year; we know that passengers are keen to keep their mobile phones on inflight and Lufthansa clearly recognises the value of offering this service,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“The service will give travellers the flexibility to use their mobile devices as much or as little as they like during a flight, whether it’s to send an SMS to a loved one, keep on top of emails or update their Facebook status,” continued Rogers.
Lake Forest, CA | December 18, 2013–Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) has upgraded its broadband satellite network for its airline customers ahead of a dramatic increase in demand for its services in 2014.
The network upgrade allows Panasonic to increase capacity in almost every geographic area for its Global Communications Services, which deliver on-board connectivity for passengers and crew. The 50 percent uplift in capacity comes as Panasonic prepares to deliver 260 Global Communications Services-equipped aircraft into service with airlines in the next year.
The new capacity has been delivered by software upgrades to the network’s 22 satellite beams. Panasonic uses iDirect’s satellite modem technology and also upgraded to iDirect’s latest Evolution technology version 3.1, to increase bandwidth. At the same time the new Evolution hardware platform allows Panasonic to support new capacity in virtually every geographic region.
David Bruner, Vice President of Panasonic’s Global Communications Services, said: “The upgrade is perfectly timed and in place for what promises to be a monumental year for Panasonic. As 2014 comes to a close, we will have over 600 aircraft worldwide operating on our network, and this upgrade ensures that we will continue to deliver a true broadband experience to the crew and passengers for the foreseeable future.”
Panasonic’s Global Communications Services help create the same connected experience in air that travelers experience each day on the ground. It provides two-way broadband connectivity to an aircraft and supports a wide range of passenger and crew applications, including Internet access, voice, data, and the ability to monitor and transmit airline operational data in real time. It also provides up to eight channels of live, uninterrupted programming such as news and the world’s most popular sporting events to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.
In collaboration with AeroMobile’s GSM mobile phone service, Panasonic’s solution allows passengers to use their mobile phones, smart phones and BlackBerry® devices onboard to make voice calls if selected by the airline, send SMS text messages or use GPRS services such as email and Internet access.
- U.S passengers now one step closer to having inflight mobile connectivity
London, UK | December 13, 2013–
Leading inflight mobile phone operator AeroMobile has today welcomed the move by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that may lead to a removal of the ban on using mobile devices onboard U.S aircraft.
In response to yesterday’s meeting, where a preliminary vote opened a period for public comment, AeroMobile CEO Kevin Rogers said that the FCC’s move would bring the U.S. in line with the rest of the world and give U.S. airlines the option to provide the same service as their international competitors.
“I’m pleased to see that common sense prevailed yesterday. There is no reason to maintain a ruling that is no longer relevant – the technology used to provide inflight GSM services is proven, and has been operational across Europe, Asia and the Middle East for more than five years.” said Rogers.
“We have hundreds of connected flights flying to and from the U.S. every day, but at the moment the service has to be switched off when we reach U.S. airspace. We know there is demand for this service from U.S. travellers – last month a quarter of the people using the service on our transatlantic routes connected from U.S. mobile networks,” continued Rogers.
AeroMobile’s inflight mobile service is active on more than 170 aircraft across nine airlines including Emirates, Etihad, SAS, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic. The operator has over 240 agreements with mobile phone operators around the world including AT&T and T Mobile in the United States.
“We look forward to working with the FCC over the coming months and will be demonstrating the value of the service to both customers and airlines, based on our experience,” said Rogers.
“I’m hopeful that sensible discussions can now take place about the practicalities of operating this service in the U.S. Ultimately, it will be up to individual airlines to decide on the right inflight mobile connectivity package for their passengers, whether this is SMS only or the full service, including voice and data,” continued Rogers.
- Potential ruling will benefit passengers and airlines
United Kingdom | November 22, 2013–
Leading inflight mobile phone operator AeroMobile welcomes the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s move to adopt regulations to permit the use of mobile devices in U.S. airspace.
Speaking in response to the announced agenda for the upcoming FCC meeting, AeroMobile CEO Kevin Rogers said that initiating a proceeding on inflight mobile connectivity was a step in the right direction, with benefits for both airlines and domestic and international travellers.
“We are in an era where being connected is expected and most airline passengers travel with a smartphone. Enabling mobile connectivity will enhance consumer choice and complement other inflight connectivity options available today,” said Rogers.
“The AeroMobile service operates almost seamlessly across the world, with the notable exception of the United States. We have many connected flights flying to and from the U.S. every day, and being able to offer connectivity in U.S. airspace will make a huge difference to the passenger experience,” continued Rogers.
AeroMobile’s inflight mobile service is active on more than 170 aircraft across nine airlines including Emirates, Etihad, SAS, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic.
All Virgin Atlantic flights between the United States and London Gatwick offer the AeroMobile service, as do all of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights from Ireland. Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa all provide AeroMobile connectivity on selected routes into the U.S., with further roll-out planned over the coming months.
“The Notice of Proposed Rule Making is also great news for our current airline partners. As well as offering an improved service, extending coverage to the United States means increased ancillary revenues for those airlines that offer mobile connectivity,” said Rogers.
”And it’s good news for U.S. airlines, potentially enabling them to provide the same levels of onboard connectivity as their international competitors.”
“We are seeing increasing demand for our services as more and more airlines and passengers realise the benefits of inflight mobile connectivity. The ease of using your mobile phone inflight makes it perfect for checking voicemail, sending SMS messages, checking emails or updating your social media status,” continued Rogers.
“In fact, SMS is the most popular service on the AeroMobile network; 60 per cent of connected passengers use the inflight mobile network to send text messages. We’ve also seen data usage shoot up by more than 200 per cent this year,” added Rogers.
AeroMobile has over 240 agreements with mobile phone operators around the world including AT&T and T Mobile in the United States, meaning its inflight network is already accessible to U.S. travellers on international airlines.
Long-haul passengers can text and browse online at 30,000ft
London, UK | October 14, 2013– Passengers onboard Aer Lingus’ long-haul flights can now use their own mobile phones to text and browse the internet, using AeroMobile’s inflight roaming service.
All seven of the airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft, which serve the USA from the Republic of Ireland, are fitted with the AeroMobile service, meaning travellers can stay in touch with friends and family by SMS, or email a colleague at 30,000 feet.
Irish passengers using Three Ireland, Vodafone Ireland and O2 Ireland, as well as travellers from the US on AT&T and T Mobile can all access the AeroMobile network inflight. What’s more, AeroMobile has roaming agreements with over 220 mobile phone operators worldwide, from the Netherlands, the UAE and Singapore, to Estonia and New Zealand.
Inflight roaming has already proved a hit with travellers on connected flights in and out of Ireland; in the last six months more than 20,000 passengers have connected to the AeroMobile network on flights operated by Etihad, Emirates and SAS serving Ireland, sending 9,000 text messages from the cabin.
The service is just like roaming abroad; passengers simply turn on their mobile device to connect to the network, and are billed directly by their mobile operator. Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ terrestrial roaming rates.
“With the launch of AeroMobile services on Aer Lingus’ transatlantic routes, Irish passengers are certainly well-served with inflight connectivity; there are now up to 140 flights a week coming in and out of Ireland on AeroMobile-equipped aircraft,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Aer Lingus is the third European carrier to launch our inflight mobile service on transatlantic flights, a route which is showing high demand from passengers who want to enjoy the same level of connectivity they have on the ground, but up in the air,” continued Rogers.
Lake Forest, CA | September 27, 2013– Singapore Airlines has taken to the skies with its first of eight new Boeing 777-300ERs equipped with Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) true broadband Wi-Fi, mobile phone service and revolutionary in-flight entertainment experience.
Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation stated, “By combining our latest IFE solutions with our Global Communications Services, Panasonic and Singapore Airlines have transformed the entertainment experience. Passengers will be captivated by inflight entertainment content on high-performance HD monitors while they simultaneously stay connected, surf the web, text, and email — all at 30,000 feet.”
With partners Deutsche Telekom and AeroMobile, Panasonic will deliver broadband Wi-Fi, mobile data and services, and passengers will use their own devices to connect to their social networks, access real-time news and information, and communicate with their family, friends and co-workers. Using HDMI and USB interfaces, passengers can also integrate their personal device with KrisWorld and view their own content on large, high-definition displays.
Enabled by high performance 24-inch, 18-inch and 11-inch high-definition displays, SIA’s KrisWorld inflight entertainment system will feature Panasonic’s open platform technology that delivers a more personal experience and intuitive navigation similar to tablets and smartphones, including multi-tasking using the video touch screen handset as a “second screen.”
- SIA’s first AeroMobile-connected aircraft takes inaugural flight from Singapore to London
London, UK | September 27, 2013– Singapore Airlines’ first aircraft equipped with AeroMobile’s inflight mobile connectivity service took its inaugural flight from Singapore to London on 27 September 2013.
SIA’s new Boeing 777-300ER is the first of eight aircraft being delivered with cutting-edge inflight entertainment and connectivity (WiFi and GSM) solutions and hardware from Panasonic Avionics Corporation. The inflight mobile service, powered by AeroMobile,provides passengers with a way to stay connected during the flight.
Through AeroMobile’s inflight network, SIA customers will be able to use their own mobile phones to send text messages as well as browse the internet, with seamless service coverage between Singapore and London.
Travellers using any of the UK’s major mobile phone networks will be able to access the service. The same applies for subscribers of Singapore’s three main mobile operators; M1, SingTel and StarHub. AeroMobile also has roaming agreements with 220 other mobile operators worldwide.
“We’re delighted to add Singapore Airlines to our growing list of airline partners. They join the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic, all of which are contributing to the increases we’re seeing in inflight mobile use,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Asia is a significant growth area for us, with more airlines scheduled to launch the service in the coming months. As well as Singapore Airlines we’re looking forward to working with Thai Airways and Garuda Indonesia in the not too distant future,” continued Rogers.
- Inflight roaming with AeroMobile now available on all major UK networks
London, UK | July 24, 2013– AeroMobile, the leading inflight mobile phone operator, has confirmed EE as its latest roaming partner. The move gives EE’s 26 million* customers across the UK the option to use their own mobile phones inflight.
Now passengers using any of the UK’s main mobile operators can make calls, text or browse online at 30,000ft, simply by connecting to the AeroMobile network.
So far this year, more than 120,000 UK-based passengers have used the AeroMobile service, sending 175,000 text messages and making 25,000 calls.
The AeroMobile service is active on 150 aircraft across nine airlines including Emirates, Etihad, SAS and Virgin Atlantic. All Virgin Atlantic flights between the US and London Gatwick offer the AeroMobile service, as well as selected flights from Manchester and Heathrow. Many flights from the UK to Dubai with Emirates and Etihad’s services from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi also provide AeroMobile connectivity.
“Adding EE to our portfolio of roaming partners opens up inflight connectivity to even more UK passengers,” says Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“EE joins the three other big operators in the UK in offering mobile customers the option to use their own phones inflight, and with more and more airlines offering the service, we expect to see increasing numbers of passengers opting to stay connected inflight. In fact, our research shows that 70 per cent of travellers would use their mobile inflight if they had the option.”
“So far this year, more than 7,000 flights have flown to or from the UK with the AeroMobile service onboard, and we’re adding more airlines and more routes every month,” continued Rogers.
Passengers who use the service are billed by their mobile phone operator, and prices vary depending on individual contracts. Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ rates, or in some cases, lower.
London, UK | May 29, 2013–From today (Wednesday 29 May), customers on selected Air France-KLM flights will be able to send text messages, check emails and browse the internet, thanks to Panasonic Avionics’ eXPhone service and AeroMobile, the leading inflight mobile phone operator.
The Dutch-French airline will launch the service on two flights today; a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Panama and an Air France flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York JFK. The service will initially be available on two Boeing B777-300 aircraft.
A registered GSM service provider for the aviation industry, AeroMobile provides the mobile network for airline passengers to roam inflight.
Passengers on Air France-KLM flights will initially be able to use SMS and data services from the aircraft, as long as their mobile operator has a roaming agreement with AeroMobile.
AeroMobile has agreements with over 220 mobile phone operators across 100 countries, including Orange and Bouygues in France and Telfort, KPN and Vodafone in the Netherlands. UK-based roaming partners include O2, Three and Vodafone.
Passengers who use the service are billed by their mobile phone operator, and prices vary depending on individual contracts. Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ rates, or in some cases, lower.
“We’re delighted to add Air France-KLM to the list of high-profile airlines already offering the AeroMobile service to their passengers,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Since we launched in 2008, over 17 million passengers have connected to AeroMobile inflight and we’re seeing huge demand from consumers who want to stay connected in the air. We expect the number of aircraft offering our service to double over the next 12 months, as more and more airlines see the benefit of offering inflight connectivity,” continues Rogers.
IFExpress is probably never going to get caught up from the AIX fun in Hamburg but don’t tell us we didn’t try. Here is a news release from the then portable IFE supplier digEcor (with some 13,000 L7 portables sold) – who now has an installed IFE system called GLIDE. Here is their release: “Inflight entertainment leader digEcor, Inc. is excited to announce the recent signing of a deal to deliver their all new embedded inflight entertainment system, dubbed GLIDE IFE, to US charter carrier Air Transport International (ATI). Slated to launch on ATI’s fleet of Boeing 757 passenger-freighter Combi aircraft, digEcor is also providing an exciting lineup of digital entertainment options including Hollywood blockbusters and classics, the latest music and videos, and a suite of entertaining games. “We are excited to be the launch partner with digEcor and be the first to have the GLIDE IFE system,” said ATI President Dennis Manibusan. “We shopped around for an embedded system, and the GLIDE IFE system met all of our immediate needs in terms of cost, reliability, unctionality and providing a high level of passenger entertainment.” DigEcor’s Sales and Marketing Director Ben Fuller commented, “We’re more commonly known in the IFE industry as the portable provider and we’re thrilled to show our continued product diversity with our embedded GLIDE IFE. We’re honored to have ATI as our launch partner and we’re committed to their success moving forward.”For more information on GLIDE IFE or content services provided by digEcor, visit us online at www.digEcor.com.” We note that Ben told IFExpress that, “We finally found the right partner,” and we have it on authority that they have had a loot meetings with an Australian company. Here is a three seat group and a system block diagram. The digEcor folks told IFExpress that their progression from portable to imbedded was a logical growth step which is a path others have followed. In their case, the system looses a battery and docking station and inserts a Konotron server and WAP for the streaming solution. We note that they have an optional SSD memory and they tell us that more, bigger screen sizes are coming. The company is targeting the regional air line market, one that has a lot of growth potential. Said Ben, “We want to be a complete customer service provider.” That about says it all.
Meet Kevin Rogers, AeroMoblle’s new CEO. He has been with the company for 5 years but was originally from Telenor in the Regulations and Roaming business. If you remember, Telenor is based in Norway but Kevin is now back in the UK and we hear Pal Bjordal is going back to Norway. Kevin told IFExpress that the AeroMobile focus is to get more telephony on aircraft as the demand for voice, text (and email, for that matter) is booming. If you remember, AeroMobile is part of the Panasonic Global Communications Suite – AeroMobile provides the mobile phone part (biggest demand) while Panasonic builds the hardware for their platform residence. It makes sense because this way, Panasonic can provide the total solution – they provide the Wi-Fi and AeroMobile the phone. With phones, the billing and usage are clean and clearly understood, after all, inflight phone charges go directly to you phone bill – no airline collections, not to mention the lack of onboard hassle. No wonder everybody likes existing billing systems! “The airlines really have a choice as do the passengers,”noted Rogers, “as the phone solution provides a pretty low bandwidth solution, and if they want to use Facebook on their iPads or laptops, Wi-fi is also available.” The airlines want the passenger to have options and they offer both, and by in large, they install GSM and Wi-Fi.” Mr. Rogers also made it quite clear that the full connectivity solution, Wi-Fi, is fine for tho data geeks but the mobile phone user has voice, text and light Internet data so if you only have a mobile phone, connectivity is within the passenger’s reach. Kevin also pointed out that data roaming prices are coming down and he expects that it will reach the point whereby it is not considered a “premium service”. Certainly, IFExpress see’s the value of competition here and the tremendous traffic growth seen might be some indication of that fact. Further, they have launched a new website that now features B-to-C focus differing from the previous one that was more B-to-B. At the show AeroMobile announced a new Aer Lingus contract and Kevin expects five new customers this year with total airplane installations doubling.
If you are a fan of real-time, airline, flight tracking radars, we have a couple links for your viewing enjoyment: flightradar24 and radarbox24. Both websites place aircraft flights superimposed over your favorite location – US and Europe are amazing. China, on the other hand, looks devoid of air traffic but we know that is not true. We would like to hear from an air traffic genius as to why that is? We will let you know what we hear.
- Research by AeroMobile reveals mobile habits of traveling Brits
London, UK | May 23, 2013– A whopping 78 per cent of British travellers are happy to use their mobile phones on holiday, despite concerns about the cost.
Almost two thirds of people are worried about the effect roaming abroad will have on their pockets, according to the poll by AeroMobile, the leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry.
The survey of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that most people (62 per cent) use their phones to keep in touch via text message when overseas, with only 13 per cent using them to check social media sites.
Just under a fifth currently use their mobile phones for browsing abroad, with men more likely than women to surf the web whilst away.
A fifth of Brits however admit to leaving their phones at home when they travel abroad.
Men are more likely to leave their phones at home, with 26 per cent of them travelling phone-less, compared to 16 per cent of women.
The older generation are also more likely to lock their phones away when they venture abroad; nearly 30 per cent of over 55s don’t travel with a mobile phone, compared to just 13 per cent of 25-34 year olds.
“What’s clear from this research is that there is demand, particularly from the younger generation, to be connected whenever, wherever. In the past roaming has been a contentious issue, but we’re now seeing better deals available for consumers who want to use their mobile devices overseas,” says Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Growth on the AeroMobile network, which provides a roaming service inflight, points to increasing demand from consumers who are happy to roam. We’ve seen a huge appetite for both SMS and mobile internet services at 30,000 feet; so far in 2013 data usage per flight has doubled and we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of text messages sent per flight. We’re confident we’ll see even more growth in this area over the coming months,” concludes Rogers.
- Inflight GSM operator launches consumer-friendly site
The easy-to-use site provides all the information you need on inflight connectivity in one place, including details of which mobile phone operators have partnered with AeroMobile and which airlines currently offer the service.
The site, created by UK-based design agency Tobasgo Creative, is clear, simple, easy to navigate and responsive to smartphone and tablet display, meaning key information is delivered on-brand to mobile devices.
The new website includes an increased presence for social media, following the launch of AeroMobile’s Twitter feed earlier this year, and to encourage consumers to Tweet @AeroMobile at 30,000ft.
“We’re very excited to launch our new-look website. This represents an important step-change for AeroMobile; with an established service and increasing airline and mobile phone partners, now is the time to start engaging with the public,” says Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“Our aim is to raise awareness; we want people to know that they can use their mobile phones and tablets inflight, that it’s perfectly safe and it doesn’t cost the earth,” continues Rogers.
“The look and feel of the website will be carried through all of our consumer-facing communication – online and offline – to help raise awareness and increase engagement. It’s visually engaging, so will definitely make an impact,” concludes Rogers.
- Irish demonstrate increasing demand for inflight mobile services, reports AeroMobile
London, UK | March 5, 2013– Irish tourists and business travellers have been quick to adopt inflight mobile services, according to AeroMobile, the leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry.
Just 12 months after the first AeroMobile-connected flight to Dublin, the service provider has already transferred 25,000 text messages and 900 calls on flights to and from Ireland. Over 10,000 mobile devices have connected to the AeroMobile network on Irish flights.
Emirates and Etihad both operate flights to and from Ireland with AeroMobile connectivity onboard; the airlines fly from Dublin to Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. SAS also operate connected flights from Oslo and in the coming weeks Aer Lingus will be adding AeroMobile services to a number of long haul aircraft.
Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile, said: “At AeroMobile we’ve seen demand for inflight connectivity double over the past 12 months, and we’re pleased to see an increasing appetite for the service from Irish mobile users. With smartphone ownership on the rise, it makes sense that more and more consumers want to use their devices in the sky.”
“In 2013 we expect at least ten flights a day on Irish routes to offer AeroMobile’s network onboard. That’s 300 flights every month or 3,650 a year,” continues Rogers.
AeroMobile is a UK-based GSM service provider for the aviation industry and a member of the GSMA. The company provides technology and services that allow the safe use of passenger’s own mobile phones onboard aircraft; the AeroMobile system is approved for use by aviation authorities around the world, including the FAA and EASA.
AeroMobile currently has roaming agreements with over 215 mobile phone operators, covering more than 100 countries worldwide.
- Change of leadership at aviation GSM operator
London, UK | February 27, 2013– AeroMobile, the leading mobile phone operator for the aviation industry, has announced the appointment of Kevin Rogers as CEO. Rogers, previously Head of Revenue Development at AeroMobile, takes over from Pal Bjordal, who has led the company for the past two and a half years.
Bjordal will return to his native Norway and to the Oslo-based headquarters of Telenor, one of the world’s largest telecoms companies and a major shareholder in AeroMobile.
Rogers joined AeroMobile in February 2008 from Telenor, where he was Director and Vice President of Group Marketing.
He has also held a number of roles with Nortel Networks, including Director of Sales for the company’s Canadian operation.
Rogers will take over Bjordal’s responsibilities from 1 March, driving forward the company’s plans for expansion in 2013.
“Pal has laid the foundations for a very exciting phase in AeroMobile’s development; we have seen accelerated growth over the past 12 months and 2013 promises to be a landmark year for us,” said Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile.
“I’m delighted to be taking over the reins at such a crucial stage in the company’s development; this year we’ve already seen traffic on the network outstrip the last six months of 2012, and we’re aiming to double the number of airlines offering the AeroMobile service before the end of the year,” continues Rogers.
- Inflight mobile communications specialist appoints leading travel and lifestyle agency
Established in 2006, AeroMobile provides world class, proven, technology and services that allow the safe use of passenger’s own mobile phones and GSM-enabled devices in the air. Using the AeroMobile network, passengers can stay connected at 30,000 feet through texts, emails, social media and voice calls.
The inflight telecoms specialist has appointed Rooster to develop and run a comprehensive campaign which includes corporate profiling in the aviation, travel and telco sectors and a consumer push to encourage more people to use their smartphones and tablets inflight.
Rooster will position Aeromobile as the voice of inflight connectivity and will work to counter negative perceptions surrounding the use of mobile devices onboard aircraft. The agency will also implement a full social media campaign for AeroMobile, beginning with a Twitter presence to support the company’s B2B activity.
“At AeroMobile we have seen accelerated growth over the last 12 months, as more and more consumers want to use their smartphones in the sky. We’re delighted to have Rooster on board as we step up our activity in the UK and we look forward to announcing more airline and operator partners over the coming months,” says Kevin Rogers, Head of Revenue Development at AeroMobile.
Rooster’s Managing Director, James Brooke, says: “AeroMobile is at the forefront of an exciting industry and we’re delighted to be working with the team in the UK. We live in an increasingly connected world and consumers expect to be able to use their smartphones whenever, wherever. AeroMobile is set to make inflight connectivity the norm.”
The AeroMobile service is currently in operation with Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Malaysian Airlines, Transaero, Gulf Air, Etihad and SAS, and will launch shortly with Lufthansa. Other airlines committed to the service include Cathay Pacific, Dragon Air, Aer Lingus, Lion Air, KLM, Air France, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
November 2, 2012– The first aircraft to be fully installed by Boeing with the AeroMobile inflight mobile service has been delivered to its customer Thai Airways International this week.
The AeroMobile service, which enables passengers to use their mobile devices to call, text, email, and browse the internet inflight, has reached a significant milestone in being installed as a standard option on the Boeing 777-300ER during its assembly in Seattle.
Although for many years airlines have been able to opt for provisions for this service, this landmark delivery represents the first of seven AeroMobile line-fitted Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to be delivered fully installed and operational to Thai Airways International alone in the next 12 months.
Several of AeroMobile’s other airline customers will be able to take advantage of this milestone. The line-fit deliveries will begin to ramp up in 2013 when AeroMobile will also become a full Boeing catalogue entry.
Pal Bjordal, CEO of AeroMobile, said: “This week’s aircraft delivery marks a major step forward for AeroMobile in reducing the time to activation we offer our customers.
“Delivery of aircraft fully line-fitted saves airlines time and cost, and we hope it is only a matter of time before AeroMobile is line-fit offerable on all Boeing and Airbus aircraft.”
AeroMobile is offered as eXPhone in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics Corporation.
After the recent introduction of IFExpress’s new ‘Speakers’ Corner’ we were approached by Pal Bjordal, President & CEO of AeroMobile with a request to contribute to the feature. Pal wanted to give our readers a quick look at the growing inflight connectivity market with some data points that you might find interesting. So, this week we are providing our readers with AeroMobiles’ perspective of the future of 3G connectivity at 35,000 feet!
The Advent of 3G Connectivity Inflight
Pal Bjordal, President & CEO, AeroMobile
We’ve seen inflight connectivity grow in the past decade from fledgling roots to a point where most of the world’s major airlines are committed to it.
By 2020, we expect around 6,500 aircraft globally to be equipped with inflight connectivity services.
Passenger expectations have grown as inflight connectivity has become more readily available. We will soon be at a point where they expect to be connected in flight to the same degree that they can be on the ground.
Future planning is vital today to ensure our industry can meet the expectations of the passengers of tomorrow.
We’ll soon be seeing an important step change in that process when a number of major airlines launch Ku-band equipped inflight mobile connectivity.
With download speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second to the aircraft, the Ku service being offered by Panasonic Avionics Corporation and AeroMobile will give passengers enhanced inflight connectivity for the first time.
But we know that demand will continue to grow as we become a society that increasingly expects to download and stream large files from the internet on mobile devices as second nature.
That demand is being fuelled by ongoing developments in mobile devices, the rapidly expanding number of apps available, and the ever increasing amount of video content online which is being streamed.
In 2011, the average amount of data downloaded on a smartphone was 150MB per month. By 2016, this is expected to be 2.5GB per month – a 16 fold increase.
With Ku, we now have the satcom bandwidth in place to meet this demand – both now and with the capacity to grow in the future.
The next step forward is 3G connectivity inflight, which will enable us to use Ku’s bandwidth to its full potential. Ku is the only satcom solution in the marketplace that can handle 3G.
Upgrading the pico cells within an aircraft (which act as inflight mobile base stations) to 3G capability will herald a quantum leap forward in inflight connectivity. A 3G pico cell offers a download speed of 21 megabytes per second – which is around 60 times faster than the 2.5G cells currently in use. With multiple cells on an aircraft, the possibilities are extensive.
And the advent of 3G is coming faster than you might think. We begin testing early in 2013.
Together with Panasonic, we already have commitments from airline customers where 3G is part of the offering. We expect to be delivering 3G into full inflight operation in early 2014.
And Now For Something Completely Different…
One way or another, the Microsoft-Apple battle touches almost everyone of us and an exchange of email between yours truly and AirCloud CEO, Gary Schmidt hit a resounding note. After pointing out a very relevant article on the subject of a new thrust by Microsoft to be ‘the new Apple’ Gary responded with an email that I thought our readers might like to see: “… they (Microsoft) are followers but sometimes the follower gets to reap the preponderance of the rewards. If they are cheaper and they can layer in the mobile side of computing… it will be big (which they have done but it requires investment in new hardware). Here’s the secret sauce though… Microsoft has Xbox which gives them a very “cool” factor that neither Google or Apple has. With Windows8, Microsoft (for the first time in Microsoft history) has done integration points for email, calendar, contacts, etc. with services like Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn – huge. In addition, Microsoft has cannibalized product lines like Outlook which are now integrated into the operating system. Its really bold what they’re doing but the true test will be the execution which is where Microsoft traditionally fails…and fails miserably.” Interested? Read more here!
Lufthansa Systems: Like every good new idea in IFE, wireless systems are now being offered by a number of suppliers. Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to consider the first in that marketplace to be the clear leader–and, yes, we’re talking about Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect.
We talked to the man whose idea it was in Hamburg at AIX, Dr. Joerg Liebe, CIO of Lufthansa Systems and the visionary behind this hot new platform. Lufthansa Systems was the first to offer a complete wireless system– not just a concept. With Condor they were the first supplier to sell wireless to an airline. And with their Virgin America deal were the first to take a big customer away from the reigning IFE platform providers.
The soft-spoken, Southern California-educated Dr Liebe gave us a thorough, candid and thoughtful description of this product and where it’s going. Modestly suggesting that the platform is designed to be sold to airlines which don’t currently have IFE, rather than aimed at taking business away from the IFE duopoly, Dr Liebe says that BoardConnect has three models: 1. A head-end server streaming to airline-provided SDUs. 2. A head-end streaming to airline-provided tablets. 3. A head-end streaming to passenger-owned devices or a combination of these. It should also be noted that some studios have approved early window content streamed from the server to the installed BoardConnect IFE seat units. The approval is only applicable to the BoardConnect system and tablets, but not PEDS; however, to the best of our understanding this is a first!
With sales to both Virgin America and Virgin Australia, and the AIX buzz about a very successful trial with Qantas, Dr Liebe may have to step out from behind his modest facade and brag a little! But somehow that doesn’t seem his style! The BoardConnect concept not only appealed to us but the jury at the Crystal Cabin Awards had the same inclination!
Panasonic: When Panasonic takes on a big project they usually do it right and the process ends up being a long, cautious march to the solution. For just under 10 years now, we have been covering pieces and parts of a global communication offering from the Lake Forrest, CA company. In fact, this is the first year we have gotten solid numbers on customer installations and the non-announcement announcement indicates they have been doing their homework. This story is multi-faceted so we will break it down for you in bullet points because this year’s AIX is where it has all come together. In the press announcement, Panasonic’s David Bruner noted that there was a real tipping point in demand in 2011 for inflight connectivity. Bruner went on to state that every single airline now believes they have to have GSM capability and broadband offerings on their fleet. “Not just big aircraft,” he noted, “but small ones too. And these services need to work exactly the same way in the air as on the ground so there is no passenger learning curve.” Basically, this translates to WiFi, cell connections, and streaming video. All hot products on big and small aircraft – even those with premium entertainment systems.
• Panasonic has been pressing to close out their coverage of the Ku network globally. There is a lot of coverage already in the northern hemisphere and by tying in to IS14 from Intelsat they will snag seamless coverage from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America. This is a key piece to the Panasonic network and it is now in place. Additional capacity has been added to Australia, New Zealand and the Trans Tasman. The General Electric 23 satellite will serve the South East Asia, Australia, and South East Pacific connections.
• Panasonic has also reached commercial agreement with Airbus for line fit on the A380. This means they can eliminate the retrofit costs and they also noted that they will be adding offerability on the A350 as well. Panasonic has been undertaking this objective for the past 4 years. With respect to Boeing and the 787, Panasonic reports they are making progress on the 787 linefit as the result of their work on the 777.
• A major step in any satellite network is the ground connectivity portion. In an investment move, Panasonic elected to take a majority share of an existing satellite service provider, AeroMobile. AeroMobile operates a ground network that manages the relationship between the airline connectivity and the cell phone roaming partner. This feature is what Telenor brings to the party and Panasonic does not have, nor do they want, this additional complexity. As a result, Telenor, a minority shareholder is not leaving and is “absolutely involved in the venture”. AeroMobile switches from satellite to a global telco system on the ground where traffic routing begins. Furthermore, Panasonic provides pure IP traffic to AeroMobile, who translates it out to the network. Today, AeroMobile has a significant number of aircraft flying with Swift Broadband and in effect, AeroMobile is platform agnostic. This represents a great marriage for Panasonic.
• Did we mention that Panasonic announced they have 1300+ aircraft already signed up for their Global Communication Suite? Consequently, Panasonic has been searching for the best broadband network to provide economical service to airlines and passengers. Panasonic is focusing on designing a new Ku band network by providing maximum capability in areas where airplanes fly and none where they do not via spot beam selection. There goal: Maximum bandwidth at the lowest cost. To achieve this they are working with a new un-named partner who is “a player with global capability and of the highest quality in the industry”. This bodes well for eXTV.
• The net result of all this activity will be a service offering beginning in 2015 with North America and the North Atlantic covered first. Europe to Asia will follow and finally all of Asia.
• Along the way, Panasonic developed a Ka Band antenna as a candidate for high through put capacity. The irony was they found that capability in Ku. Noting that the airborne antenna is the most difficult design part of the process, by sticking with Ku very little change occurs to the aircraft – this is a major plus for the airline. (Note: One could assume that Panasonic has found clever ways to gang and steer spot beams in satellites with that capability. Obviously, receiver design plays a significant part in this as well.)
• The majority of the 20+ existing eXPhone customers will continue to work with the Ku equipped aircraft. These include operators like Virgin Atlantic, Malaysia Airlines, and Emirates. Gulf Air and Lufthansa will be onboard soon. We also understand Cathay Pacific, SAS, Turkish Airlines, and Etihad have signed up.
Editor’s Note: Mea Culpa! In case you lost your copy of Wheelock’s Latin, it means we are sorry to the nice folks at D.e.u.t.s.c.h. because we misspelled their name in the last issue of IFExpress. We say it again, “Mea Culpa!”
Lake Forest, CA – September 7, 2011 – Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) systems, today announced that it has finalized an agreement with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) to install its eXConnect and eXPhone solutions on SAS’ fleet of domestic, pan-European and intercontinental aircraft. SAS is planning on introducing the service to its passengers at the end of this year.
Panasonic’s eXConnect system provides two-way broadband connectivity to an aircraft. It supports a wide range of passenger and crew applications, and SAS will use the solution to provide in-flight broadband Internet access over Wi-Fi to passengers. The company’s eXPhone product, offered in collaboration with AeroMobile’s in-flight mobile phone service, will allow SAS passengers to use their mobile phones, smart phones and BlackBerry® devices onboard to make and receive voice calls if selected by the airline, send and receive SMS text messages, and use GPRS services such as email and internet access.
“We are very excited to begin working with SAS on a broadband Ku solution that lets their passengers use services such as email, social media and much more to stay connected friends, family and colleagues at 30,000 feet,” said Paul Margis, Chief Executive Officer for Panasonic.
If you heard about the mayhem in the famous Bellagio fountain last week, the image of Sir Richard Branson riding, or dumping, a jet ski in the water in Las Vegas is probably permanently etched in your brain. The event honored the 10 year anniversary of Virgin Atlantic’s non-stop flight service to Mcarran airport from the UK. As he usually does, Virgin’s Sir Richard, prompted a stunt to mark the event and we will give you some coverage of that madness next issue. The Virgin investment of $2 Billion in new planes and new service from Manchester airport, as well as, the 10th anniversary of the service to Las Vegas, were reason enough for the celebration.
The IFE story belongs to Panasonic because of the $70 Million invested by Virgin in the Panasonic eX2 and eXPhone System (via AeroMobile) on 10 new A330’s. The aircraft begin delivery next February, and initially, the hardware will be installed via retrofit. However, Virgin is pressing both Boeing (B747) and Airbus (A330) for future line fit (TC’d) solutions. The news conference last week (shown above) brought together Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson – President, Steve Ridgeway – CEO, Greg Dawson – Director Communications together with Panasonic’s Charles Oglivie – Executive Director, and Rossi Ralenkotter – President Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority.
Obviously excited over the fact that the Las Vegas destination was fourth on VA’s revenue generation destination list, he was very enthusiastic about the Panasonic system. Said Sir Richard, “The possibilities now are unlimited. We want mobile phones to be on silent, but there will be light alerts at the passenger’s seat when a call comes in. We might eventually establish silent zones if need be but we’ll see how things go. This means the business men and women will never be out of touch. Our train riders can add four work hours to their work day when traveling with us by rail. It will be no different in the air.” IFExpress talked to the VA and Panasonic representatives and it was clear that the new non-stop A330’s that will fly from the UK to Las Vegas are an important part of both the Las Vegas growth plan and the future of Virgin Atlantic.
The “take-away” here is that Panasonic is actively engaged with Virgin Atlantic today to bring their whole suite of phone-TV-Internet services to the aircraft – initially via Inmarsat and eventually via their broadband network. Paul Margis told IFExpress that they presently have consigned Ku-Band transponders in their network that cover the world routes and planes are operating with the capability today. It is obvious that Sir Richard is a fan of technology as he noted passenger preference for using connected devices; “Passengers will be able to email, make phone calls, use their iPhones to talk and text message.” Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of of 33 wide-body aircraft have to look pretty good to Panasonic and we expect that the negotiations are underway to upgrade their whole fleet. Time will tell.