After A Year, Partners’ ATG Promise Comes True
ARINC and Telenor will be demonstrating technology this month at the World Airline Entertainment Association trade show in Seattle that allows GSM subscribers to use their mobile phones while in flight. The air-to-ground (ATG) technology would allow the phones to communicate through a plane’s Inmarsat hardware, which the two companies say exist on more than 1,900 planes worldwide.
It was almost exactly a year ago, that the two inked a deal creating what the companies characterized as the world’s largest alliance of aeronautical service providers (Satellite Today, Sept. 9, 2003).
While it would be a boost to passengers if they could actually use their mobile phones while airborne, one has to question whether airlines would be quick to jump on such an idea, as they would probably lose some revenue from the airphone systems they already carry. On the flip side, many carriers have discontinued offering such services because of poor consumer response.