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Mobile Phone Service for Airline Passengers
Posted: 21-Jun-2004 [Source: Telenor]

[ARINC Incorporated and Telenor ASA will soon market new technology to allow airline passengers to use personal mobile phones aboard commercial flights.]

Annapolis, MDand Oslo, Norway -- ARINC and Telenor ASA reveal plans at the Inmarsat Conference in Montreal, Canada to market new technology allowing airline passengers to use personal mobile phones aboard commercial flights The new technology allows safe and seamless usage of today's popular GSM mobile phones on any commercial aircraft flight.

"Passengers will be able to make and receive mobile phone calls, and send or receive text messages just as they do on the ground," stated Graham Lake, ARINC Vice President and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa. "It is not a question of whether mobile phones will be used on aircraft. It is merely a question of when."

The new technology initially will leverage the classic Inmarsat SATCOM systems many airlines have already invested in. These systems are already deployed on over 3000 aircraft worldwide. The system is also flexibly designed to accommodate evolving technologies such as the Inmarsat Swift/BGAN and Ku broadband systems such as ARINC's SKYLinkTM.

Engineers from Telenor, ARINC and representatives of the airline market have worked to expand the area of utilization of GSM-standard mobile phones. "This is part of our joint strategy to carry out more market oriented research and development," stated Berit Svendsen, Telenor CTO. "We recognize the use of GSM phones on board aircraft is inevitable in the next 12-18 months and have positioned our alliance and technology at the forefront of these developments. We view the ability to literally 'roam' onto an aircraft, and seamlessly use a mobile phone for voice and SMS messaging, as a near-term reality. We will provide a comprehensive Aero-GSM fleet solution without the need for a significant investment in communications infrastructure."

ARINC and Telenor will offer the airlines a comprehensive, one-stop implementation package. The technology will address the airspace as a virtual GSM country, simplifying the mobile addressing and connectivity during flight. Current terrestrial GSM roaming charges are being used for end-user pricing models.

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