And Now, In-flight Mobile Calls

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 18, 2005

Air passengers will probably be able to make and receive mobile calls by next year. Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of the Boeing Company recently concluded a week of demonstration flights in Europe that showed travelers how mobile telephony in flight could be provided safely and conveniently for passengers in flight.

On flights aboard a Boeing 737-400 test and demonstration airplane, Connexion One, guests sampled not only the Connexion by Boeing high-speed, real-time Internet service, but also used roaming-enabled mobile phones to make and receive phone calls.

“Enabling people to make and receive phone calls during flight demonstrated the flexibility of a high-speed connectivity system like ours,” said Chris Petersen, Program Manager for voice and cellular service at Connexion by Boeing. “Both callers and call recipients were equally excited and impressed by the voice quality and the reliability of the connection.”

The ability to make GSM and CDMA calls over Connexion by Boeing’s system has been made possible through UTStarcom, Inc., an IP-based, end-to-end networking solutions and services provider in California, U.S.A. UTStarcom supplied its MovingMedia 2000 all-IP mobile network infrastructure equipment to Connexion by Boeing and also the technical support on the ground for call switching and completion.

The MovingMedia 2000 solution leverages market-proven technologies and UTStarcom’s extensive experience in building IP equipment and deploying IP networks. It provides wireless operators with a complete, all-IP solution to reap the multiple advantages of 3G networks.

“Our MovingMedia 2000 product is the only all-IP mobile infrastructure solution on the market today, and is designed to provide significant operational cost savings to service providers as it does not require traditional TDM transmission backhaul,” said Jack Mar, President of the CDMA/GSM division at UTStarcom, Inc. “UTStarcom’s MovingMedia 2000 network solution is compact, uses IP transport technology and is capable of working over satellite transmission medium, making it an ideal solution to offer cellular service for passengers on commercial airlines.”

Connexion by Boeing intends to enable mobile phone devices onboard commercial airplanes utilizing the existing broadband satellite link and make this available to its airline customers as early as 2006.