Will ‘nomophobia’ drive inflight connectivity growth?

Mobile phone being used in flight.
A passenger using a mobile phone in flight.

Nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, may be one factor that drives up inflight connectivity usage, according to Geneva-based OnAir.

OnAir’s Francois Rodriguez, speaking at last week’s 2014 Aircraft eEnablement (Connectivity and IFE) Conference, said that according to the latest figures 58% of men and 47% of women may suffer from nomophobia.

“People check their mobile on average 150 times a day and a large number of passengers now carry three devices,” Rodriguez said.

A 2010 study by the UK Post Office also found that nearly 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”.

The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on-par with those of “wedding day jitters” and trips to the dentist.

Ten percent of those questioned said they needed to be contactable at all times because of work. The survey concluded, however, that the word “phobia” is misused and that in the majority of cases it is only a “normal anxiety”.

OnAir says that more than one million passengers are now connected by its systems each month. The predictions are that by 2020, OnAir’s inflight network usage would effectively make it “the fifth most visited country” in terms of roaming.

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