AeroMobile is continuing to roll out 3G capabilities across its installed user base. About half of its customers now have 3G on their aircraft.
The AeroMobile service, which allows passengers to use their mobile phones in flight, and works with owner Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite solution, now gives passengers another connectivity option.
“It seems like a paradox to give people the choice between 3G or Wi-Fi, but it does give them different options,” said Kevin Rogers, AeroMobile CEO.
“The 3G 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 comparable to international roaming rates.”
The 3G service allows passengers to use their mobile devices to text and browse the internet inflight. Offering 3G connectivity means a faster service and an experience much closer to that on the ground.
But why would they choose to use 3G instead of using Wi-Fi?
“If a passengers just wants to send one email or a Tweet 3G could prove better than Wi-Fi for them, especially if they have a bundled international roaming package,” said Rogers.
Singtel, for example, offers a SG$29/24-hour package that lets users consume as much data as they want.
“It means they don’t need to hunt for their credit card and go through the whole sign-up procedure for Wi-Fi.
“But if a passenger wants to spend a lot longer browsing the internet, or using social media, signing up for a Wi-Fi package might be a better option,” he said.
Rogers said that 3G is optimised for the cabin and works well. “There isn’t the push for 4G to be on aircraft like there is on the ground,” he said. “Because of the signal strength you can often get a better experience via 3G on an aircraft than you might get with a weaker 4G service on the ground.”
AeroMobile currently has around 340 roaming agreements with telcos around the world.