Virgin Atlantic to offer in-flight mobile use

For some it will be a good news story, for others, the complete opposite. We're talking about Virgin Atlantic's decision to offer in-flight mobile calls by the end of this year, the first UK airline to offer calling in the sky.

Whether you are up or down about this decision perhaps depends on how much you love having your phone by your side or how much you value some peace and quiet as you fly. Either way, Virgin's decision to introduce mobile access on part of its service will impact on you if you happen to use that airline.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Virgin will offer mobile calling on its new Airbus A330 planes between London and New York, expanding the service to 17 planes on at least 10 routes by the end of the year.

But you can't use your own network. Did you really expect that hovering over the Atlantic? That was never going to happen. Instead, you'll be using an AeroMobile service, part-owned by Panasonic, with charges at roaming rates. That should keep usage down. On top of that, no use is permitted during take-off or landing, and American laws mean that it has to be turned off 250 miles from US airspace.

It might not be as fast as you imagine either. Limited bandwidth means that only a small number of lines are available at any one time and basic web access is possible – GPRS connectivity. So don't try streaming movies or downloading music. Mind you, the cost would probably deter you from doing that anyway. A better service will follow though, with Steve Griffiths, Virgin Atlantic's COO, confirming Wi-Fi will be available on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, likely to be in service by the end of 2014.

The new service is part of a £100m upgrade to Virgin's Upper Class cabin, which starts with the A330 and adds USB ports for charging gadgets, as well as an improved touch-screen for in-flight entertainment.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Written by Mobile Choice
Mobile Choice

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