ARINC Inc. and Telenor today demoed their new in-flight GSM connectivity solution. With the Inmarsat aeronautical services deployed in an aircraft, passengers can fulfill all their GSM mobile needs, from receiving calls to SMS messaging.
See press release below.
Mobile Phones Taking Flight as ARINC and Telenor Demonstrate New Cellular System
ARINC Incorporated and Telenor today gave leading UK and European journalists a demonstration of the technology that will make in-flight mobile phone service a reality. ARINC/Telenor Mobile Connectivity–the new GSM mobile phone solution for airlines that uses Inmarsat aeronautical services–was deployed inside Inmarsat’s London headquarters for use by an invited list of aviation and aerospace writers and editors.
Attendees took a ‘virtual flight’ from the comfort of Inmarsat’s London headquarters to experience how the new onboard GSM mobile phone network works, enabling voice calls and SMS messages at 30,000 feet. They placed and received calls on their personal mobile phones to test the new service, which is being marketed to the world’s airlines.
“ARINC, Telenor, and Inmarsat want you to experience one of the first live demonstrations of this service, to find out what it will mean for travellers, airlines and the communications industry,” stated Graham Lake, ARINC Vice President and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa.
The system works through a small ‘picocell’ installed on the aircraft to create a mini mobile cell in the passenger cabin, linked to the ground via a satellite connection.
“This simple solution extends mobile roaming onto the aircraft–a natural extension of the coverage at most airports. It will enable tomorrow’s travelers to place and receive mobile calls and messages wherever they fly,” said Robert Johnson, Director of Market Management at Inmarsat. “The days of missing calls and important messages while you’re in the air will soon be over.”
“This system has passed the technology and pricing hurdles,” stated Bernt Fanghol, Telenor Director of Program Management. “Exactly as shown here, it will fit aboard thousands of today’s passenger jets, and with no additional satellite equipment required because it makes use of the existing Inmarsat technology already found on most long-range aircraft today.”
Significantly, ARINC and Telenor expect the Mobile Connectivity system to be priced well under $100,000 per aircraft. The phone charges are expected to be similar to international roaming rates on the ground.