AeroMobile, a joint ARINC and Telenor partnership, aims to provide business jet passengers with access to inflight mobile phone use and broadband services by the end of 2006.
The system will provide communication over the Inmarsat system already installed on many business aircraft.
“Although armrest telephones have been installed in many aircraft for years, there are a number of reasons why they were not successful,” said Graham Lake, vp and md of ARINC.
“They were not well-recognised by passengers; the cost of use and maintenance was high; they were not user friendly; and, most importantly, the user did not have access to his or her phonebook as they would if
they could use their own mobile phone,” he added.
There are also problems associated with the use of mobile phones on aircraft. “When someone leaves a telephone on in an aircraft, its signal output is at its highest, as it is looking for a service provider.
“Therefore, the system can inhibit the functionality of the telephone by surpressing the signal to the minimum power output so that is doesn’t interfere with the aircraft’s communication systems.”
Before the system can be become fully operational, a number of key issues have to be resolved, Lake says.
“One regulatory problem is that when aircraft are flying over ground, the power output from mobile telephones being used on the aircraft can interfere with ground systems. Therefore, the altitude at which mobile phones can be used needs to be decided.
“It is an issue that everyone wants to be addressed and is something that we are confident will be resolved in early 2006.”