The next-generation in-flight Wi-Fi services, which will provide similar internet speeds and consistency of home and office networks, is likely to be available later this year on domestic and international flights of Chinese airlines.
US aerospace company Honeywell and Beijing-based Air Esurfing Information Technology (ARE) signed a cooperation agreement this week in Beijing, giving Chinese carriers access to high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi services that rely on the Ka band. ARE will be responsible for software development, local distribution and discussions with airlines.
The new services will be 10 to 100 times faster than the current available in-flight Wi-Fi that uses the Ku band. Adapted and customized to the China market, the new services will provide broadband data connectivity and significantly lower the costs.
"Air China is hopeful of becoming one of the largest customers," said Guo Man, president of ARE.
Aviation officials from China are yet to approve the use of Wi-Fi services reliant on Ka band. Honeywell and ARE believe that once the solution comes out, the authorities will support the idea, to meet the growing demand from passengers.
Currently, about 300 aircraft in China, which make up for less than 10% of the total fleet, are equipped with Wi-Fi services.
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