Aircell has completed the first wireless network in the U.S. designed specifically to provide mobile broadband services to airline passengers while flying over the country. The wireless network enables full corporate and personal email, VPN access and Web surfing. The Aircell network will provide seamless connectivity through the in-flight mobile broadband Internet service, called Gogo. Aircell has been testing the service for several months now and has constructed cell sites throughout the country to ensure seamless service.
American Airlines and Virgin America passengers will see the service available on planes this year with Virgin America going a step further and offering the mobile broadband service to all passengers by integrating it with the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system.
PCWorld reports that the service will cost about $10 for three hours or less and $13 for cross-country flights, and for frequent flyers, unlimited monthly service plans will be offered. Flight customers in the U.S. will still not be allowed to use cell phone service on planes — not even for text messaging or email. In Europe and Asia, texting is the first step airlines are taking. Emirates went live with mobile access on a test plane recently and Ryanair is expected to add texting service to its entire fleet.