The Shenzhen-based Airbus China Innovation Center has signed an agreement with China Mobile Intelligent Mobility Network Technology Co to co-develop in-flight Wi-Fi services, fueled by the growing demand for greater in-air connectivity.
The Airbus and China Mobile subsidiaries did not disclose further details.
In January, the Civil Aviation Administration of China lifted curbs on the use of mobile devices on domestic flights. Passengers can now use mobile phones, tablets and laptops during the entire flight, as long as they have airplane mode switched on.
The in-flight Wi-Fi market in China is expected to enter a rapid growth period in the next few years. Most domestic routes are yet to be equipped with Wi-Fi services, due to technology and cost limitations.
Currently, in-flight Wi-Fi mostly relies on the Ku band signal channel, which makes it susceptible to instability during flights.
The latest high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi operates on the Ka band, meaning the internet speed will be much faster than the currently available options. Both technologies rely on satellites, which restrict them to satellite orbit resources, making them more expensive than air-to-ground communications.
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