Back in July 2006, AirCell paid $31.1 million at an FCC auction to take over unused radio frequency in order to offer Internet service to airline passengers. According to CEO Jack Blumenstein, the service will be available early 2008 and passengers will be able to use their Wi-Fi devices such as laptops and PDAs on-board, although initially VoIP services such as Skype will be blocked.
As stated by AirCell, users can expect speeds equivalent to those on ground, buying access for the day will set you back $10. They will also be offering discounted rates for users of existing Wi-Fi hotspots such as Boingo, T-Mobile and iPass. So far no airline partners have been announced, reportedly they are currently on negotiations. Installing AirCellís system will cost airlines about $100,000 and the work can be done overnight by airline personnel. AirCell hopes to attract partners through revenue sharing agreements.