Over 50 percent of the 39.8 million business travellers in 1999 brought their cell phones with them, according to a recent survey conducted by The Travel Industry Association.
Unfortunately, less than 10% of wireless phones work overseas, forcing travellers to find new options.
InTouch USA, a leading wireless phone rental company offers phones for rental everywhere travellers go. One factor leading to this surge in usage are the new features that wireless providers are offering.
Access to airline schedules, mobile high-speed Internet access in airports and in-flight access to email are some of the many offerings that are becoming more and more common. Airlines are also taking advantage of new technology to offer mobile ticket checkers, wireless service for aircraft repairmen, and even wireless baggage tracking systems.
One problem that providers are struggling with are all the different wireless systems that need to share the same frequencies with airport communications. A new regulatory agency, the Wireless Airport Association has recently been created to help new wireless services work for both airport passengers and employees. The WAA will be in charge of establishing standards and helping all of the different new technologies co-exist without interfering with each other.
Some recent initiatives that have been announced include:
* Everypath Inc. has started working with America West to offer arrival and departure gate information on wireless devices in several airports.
* Mobile Star Network is working with the Louisville International Airport to offer High-Speed Internet Access at all airport gates and terminals.
* Tenzing Communications in testing a new in-flight email and Internet Access system on certain Air Canada flights.