Aerophone Unveils Systems For Making Cell Calls From Aircraft
[Satellite Today – 2-7-08] Israel’s Aerophone Ltd. has developed a communications system that will allow airline passengers to make mobile telephone calls from aircraft using satellite links, the company announced Feb. 7.
Calls are relayed by miniature GSM stations dubbed picocells installed on the aircraft to the satellite system. In smaller aircraft, the picocells can relay up to 24 calls simultaneously to terrestrial telephone networks via several receiving stations and gateways. In larger aircraft, an additional Ku-band transceiver is installed to allow up to 96 calls simultaneously.
Installation and operation of the system is free for airlines, and the $1-per-minute cost of the call is billed on the customer’s phone bill. “In this way we want to achieve the greatest possible acceptance of our system," Henry Shabat, CEO of Aerophone, said in a statement. “Thus there will soon be no more airlines where you can’t use your mobile telephone during the flight.”
Aerophone will recoup the development costs by sharing revenues with the telephone companies. “That means we have placed the entrepreneurial risk entirely on our side,” Shabat said. “We’re just totally and completely sure of our product.”