Passengers on Etihad Airways’ daily flights between New York and Abu Dhabi can now use their own mobile phones to text, browse and call, thanks to Panasonic Avionics’ eXPhone service and AeroMobile, the leading in-flight mobile phone operator.
The national airline of the United Arab Emirates launched the Wi-Fi and GSM-enabled Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on June 1st, increasing capacity on the New York route by 36.6 per cent.
The aircraft replaces the Airbus A340-500 and makes it possible for the airline to offer in-flight connectivity on every flight to and from New York.
Etihad launched its in-flight connectivity services with AeroMobile and Panasonic in November 2012 with a commitment to install the services across the entire fleet.
To date 13 Etihad aircraft have been equipped with in-flight connectivity, and the airline has an aggressive roll-out plan which will see the whole fleet covered by mid-2014.
A registered GSM service provider for the aviation industry, AeroMobile provides the mobile network for airline passengers to roam in-flight.
Passengers on Etihad Airways can use the mobile phone service as long as their operator has a roaming agreement with AeroMobile.
AeroMobile has agreements with over 220 mobile phone operators across 100 countries, including full coverage in the UAE with Etisalat and Du.
It also recently confirmed AT&T as a roaming partner in the US and has an agreement with T-Mobile USA.
UK-based roaming partners include O2, Three and Vodafone.
Passengers who use the service are billed by their mobile phone operator, and prices vary depending on individual contracts.
Prices are typically similar to ‘rest of world’ rates, or in some cases, lower.