Qantas has announced that it will introduce internet services to its fleet of domestic aircrafts, but will be currently limited to a couple of domestic Boeing 767 and the Airbus A330.
However, there is a catch; it is not wi-fi. It will be done via a mobile phone “mini-base station” that will provide GPRS and SMS access for Blackberries and smartphones (and your 3G phone, if you know how to make it act like a modem). However; you will need, according to Qantas, a roaming account for your SIM card.
Qantas will be using AeroMobile’s technology to allow this service to work as the company is known to have mobile phones and portable devices work without interfering with the aircraft systems or the communication network from the ground.
Voice calls can be supported by the technology offered, but Qantas has not opted for it.
It has been under an evaluation period on some Boeing 767 flights between April 2007 and January 2008 and had called it a great success.
“The evaluation of this new technology was a great success,” John Borghetti, Executive General Manager, told APC.
“An overwhelming majority of passengers involved in the evaluation indicated they wanted access to inflight connectivity on an ongoing basis.”
However, since it does need a roaming SIM card; expect the service to be costly. This service does run on the mobile telephone network to allow you to connect to the internet and it will rack up thousands of dollars if you try to download a heavy file from your HSPDA-connected laptop.