Sponsored feature: No-one wants to be out of touch, even when flying on a business aircraft. But with SD’s GlobalVT there is now a solution that makes using a cellphone in the air as easy as it is on the ground.
Satcom Direct’s GlobalVT enables passengers to use their own cellphone number with their smartphone from take-off to landing, at any altitude, anywhere in the world.
The service acts like a global cellular roaming service, routeing all calls and texts to a passenger’s smartphone number via the aircraft’s satellite connection. And it is easy to use too. Just download and install the GlobalVT app, switch your phone to inflight mode and enable a Wi-Fi connection to the onboard Satcom Direct Router (SDR) and enabled GlobalVT service.
Voice calls and messaging to and from the ground are then routed automatically.
All outgoing calls will correctly show your number as the originator, which increases the chances of them being answered. Incoming calls also correctly display the number of the person calling you. This is made possible due to agreements SD has secured with GSM providers to route the calls and texts to and from the recipient’s number through GlobalVT.
GlobalVT for Apple iOS and Android
An Apple iOS app for GlobalVT has been ready for some time and the recent launch of an Android app means even more smartphone users can take advantage of the service.
Ken Bantoft, SD’s Chief Technology Officer, said the system will work with ViaSat Ku-band systems and Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). ViaSat can support up to two voice calls concurrently, while SBB can support up to four.
“The call quality is excellent, thanks to our revolutionary voice codec,” said Bantoft. “Before GlobalVT you would have needed the phone number of the aircraft and know that the person you were trying to contact was actually onboard.
“And with outgoing calls there is no ‘+87’ or other strange number displayed when you call, so your recipient is more likely to answer it.”
Satcom Direct says it is the only company that provides this service globally without any change of infrastructure on the aircraft. It doesn’t involve a costly picocell and there is no need to shut the system down while flying over some countries, such as India and China. SD has more than 300 roaming agreements worldwide to ensure a seamless network for users, including 3G coverage when the aircraft is on the ground.
SD can also bill the aircraft owner, and give a full breakdown of all call costs if required.
Bantoft said that putting a picocell on board an aircraft can cost around $250,000 on top of a satellite system. On a Boeing BBJ it is nearer to $1 million.
But the cost of entry for a system with SD’s GlobalVT is dramatically less, because all you need is an SDR which has STCs available on a wide range of aircraft types.
Satcom Direct says the SDR not only interfaces with current networks, but is designed to work with future networks including Ka, Ku and L-Band, plus others in development. STCs are available for most major airframes.
The company is a premier Inmarsat distribution partner, Iridium service partner, and ViaSat Yonder preferred reseller, supporting flight departments worldwide.
Contact Satcom Direct to find out more about GlobalVT.