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Inflight high speed data, provisioning and cabin wifi

Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:10 am

This is a thread to track the fast growing, and increasing competitive, field of high speed data (HSD) service to inflight terminals (i.e., aircraft). The days of Inmarsat's monopoly of inflight HSD are past... although Inmarsat still has the largest market share of satcom service. In the US, esp. for bizjets, terrestrial HSD (4G now, 5G soon) is more cost effective and approaching nationwide coverage, and ViaSat now competes for satcom HSD.
"Satellite company Inmarsat has had to cut its dividend so it can invest in Wi-Fi on board and its shares have been hit as investors worry that the business won’t be as lucrative as once hoped.". https://www.reuters.com/article/us-airl ... SKBN1HK2NO

Europe (more accurately, Deutsche Telekom) is now deploying a terrestrial network (part of the European Aviation Network, "EAN") for inflight HSD similar to that in the U.S.
https://www.ft.com/content/924e706c-164 ... 6390addb44

All the major avionics suppliers have terminals, LANs, and wifi systems for a/c, and IIRC all work with Inmarsat or ViaSat transponders.... terrestrial base station compatibility varies greatly. The satcom providers are moving into the avionics market as the writing is on the wall.... satcom HSD will be increasingly limited to transoceanic, non-US, non-EU areas.

I pose some general questions...
1. Are we going to see an increase in "tiered services" for inflight wifi? Slow datarate or texting for free, pay for higher datarate (or get it with elite status).
2. Iridium is late to the commerical av market. Why? Too distracted by military contracts? https://www.iridium.com/solutions/government/aero/
3. Could inflight wifi be a more important revenue stream for LCCs than legacy operators? (LCC pax expect to pay for each increment of service, while legacy pax expect at least free movies on Gogo Inflight or equivalent.)

I hope some IT AMTs can contribute to the thread.

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