In a previous post I wrote about how about how our friends across the ditch were getting access to inflight SMS as well as data for smartphones. That was a couple of months ago and it seems like us Australians weren’t about to be outdone by the Kiwis according to this SMH article.
As expected pricing is not yet clear and things seem to be a little “pie in the sky”. However, it can be safely assumed that there will be a premium to use inflight SMS and data as it would be treated as if you were roaming internationally. The service would be provided by Aeromobile, a subsidiary of Telenor (a Norwegian mobile carrier) via pico-cell. Transmission would then be linked via satellite back into the mobile networks.
What puzzles me is that we do have at least one local telco with a few birds in the air (i.e. satellites) which I am sure could provide similar connectivity and a level playing field at a reasonable price. The big downside is that usage would likely fall outside of the cap plans that we have come to know and love.
Even if it were available on domestic and international flights, I’m sure that I would not be so beholden to having inflight SMS and data. Perhaps in an emergency it might be useful but I think I could amuse myself for the hour or so duration of a typical flight. I am also thankful that voice services will not be available as listening to the dribble coming out of the mouths of others would drive me up the wall.
I think this is a case of technology that may be more of a gimmick than of any real use or value for a cost multiple times greater than a land-based service.