There was much attention given to a Delta Air Lines passenger escorted by police from his flight last week, having made a business VoIP call. However, as in-flight Internet looks set to become a common addition to most flights throughout the world, such incidents are likely to soon disappear.
As was proven last week, making VoIP calls whilst flying is possible already – particularly in the United States where 85% of flights have access to overland Internet. Making calls using the service is barred though and it is this directive which could cause issues going forward.
However, as VoIP is used more frequently throughout the business world and as true Internet coverage becomes a reality, it is likely these directives will simply disappear.
The problem with present in-flight Internet services is largely the cost – they are rarely provided for free and often incur a cost in excess of $3.00 (£1.90) per hour. However, connectivity is patchy in many areas, particularly over sea, and slow.
As people want to be connected all the time, a new partnership between a UK telecommunications provider and a US aviation supplier could soon offer just this.
The deal will see the British company Inmarsat launch three satellites over the coming years, whilst American firm Honywell will design and install the necessary hardware.
When delivered, a fully global in-flight Internet and VoIP service should be available to all. With 100% coverage, speeds of between 10 – 50Mbps from launch and the possibility of significantly reduced or free access, the revolution is set to get under way from 2013.
Mobile VoIP is also set to take off in other ways in the near future too, with recent research suggesting it is set for a meteoric rise.
The study, completed by research firm TechNavio, suggests that in just two years, the EMEA market alone will be worth £3.29 billion.