Deutsche Telekom hopes to cash-in on growing demand for in-flight Wi-Fi services with the launch of a service on Lufthansa’s North Atlantic routes.
The FlyNet service, launched today, offers downlink rates of up to 5Mbps for €10.95 per hour or €19.95 for 24 hours, and will be extended to the majority of Lufthansa’s long-haul flights by end 2011.
Deutsche Telekom says the service - developed in conjunction with Panasonic Avionics – closes the communications gap by building on its 8,000 land-based hotspots and 72 links on high-speed trains operated by Deutsche Bahn.
Lufthansa is the latest in a growing list of airlines to offer Wi-Fi, which enterprise network operator iPass says is becoming a key differentiator for the embattled airline industry.
A recent study of 2,400 iPass customers found that 62.6% would access Wi-Fi in the air via laptops and smartphones.
The same study found that just under 30% have accessed the service to-date, suggesting good pent-up demand.
Panasonic is currently testing a fuselage-mounted antenna capable of delivering downlink rates up to 50Mbps via satellite on a Boeing Business Jet.