China Unicom to unveil sky-high Wi-Fi service next month
China Unicom, China's second-largest telecom carrier by subscribers, prepares to demonstrate its in-flight Wi-Fi service next month.
The move came shortly after local airlines were allowed to decide for themselves whether passengers could use personal electronic devices during flights, paving the way for a new multibillion market.
China Unicom said more than 80 airplanes from carriers including China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines have been equipped with its internet software and systems.
"Next month, we will demonstrate a stable, high-speed internet surfing experience onboard planes that's roughly similar to what we have on the ground," China Unicom said in a statement, without disclosing more details.
Currently, in-flight Wi-Fi is available only in some planes of Chinese airlines. A report by research firm Routehappy shows that 78 percent of airlines in the United States provide some sort of connectivity. In China, it is 23 percent, according to a domestic aviation statistics company Vari-Flight.
China Unicom said the service would be run by Unicom-AirNet, a joint venture it set up in April with several local partners. The company said it has built the largest satellite communication infrastructure in Asia, which will help ensure communication quality.
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