The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Airlines are expected to start making announcements this summer about the offering of in-flight internet connections.
While Aircell is temporarilly out of the game for in-flight cellular communications due to the recent FCC decision not to adjust its ban, Aircell plans to install equipment to establish a wi-fi hotspot on the aircraft. It will cost about $100,000 to outfit a plane with less than 100 pounds of equipment, and installation can be done overnight. It will cost the same as existing offerings, no more than $10 a day, with the airlines and Aircell sharing revenue. Aircell plans to offer discounted options for customers and tie into existing service programs.
We are unsure what part of the costs will be borne by Aircell and what by the carriers. Voice calls on services such as Skype and other VoIP services will be blocked.
European carriers have received less objections to the idea of onboard cell service. Ryanair, Emirates, and Qantas will be installing such systems before year’s end. This may encourage the US to revisit the issue.