Southwest Air Preps To Fly With Wi-Fi - InformationWeek
Government // Mobile & Wireless
12:04 PM

Southwest Air Preps To Fly With Wi-Fi

The airline has tested Row 44 satellite Wi-Fi service with laptops, iPhones and other smartphones.

Southwest Airlines reported Friday that it intends to begin a fleetwide Wi-Fi rollout of Row 44's satellite service beginning in the first quarter of next year, setting the stage for a provider competition between Row 44 and Aircell's Gogo Inflight Internet Wi-Fi service.

Gogo, which has outfitted several U.S. airlines with Wi-Fi, utilizes a network of ground towers that beam signals to aircraft antennas.

Southwest has been testing the Row 44 service on four aircraft since February and the airline said the Row 44 service "has received fantastic customer feedback on the product." Southwest will suffer a Wi-Fi competitive disadvantage until it catches up with several major airlines, which began to install the Gogo service a few months ago.

"We have concluded our testing for inflight Wi-Fi and are very happy with both the technical performance of the system and the response of customers who have used it," said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines senior vice president of marketing and revenue management, in a statement.

Southwest said that its passengers have tested the Wi-Fi service with different devices including laptops, iPhones and other Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.

The Row 44 service is supported by satellite provider Hughes Network Systems. The service will enable passengers on global flights to connect to the Internet and even to make VoIP telephone calls in countries and regions were regulatory agencies have granted permission. To date, voice calls are forbidden on all U.S. flights, but some airlines and services are lobbying the FCC and other regulatory agencies to remove the voice ban.

Alaska Airlines also has been testing the Row 44 service.

AirCell's Gogo inflight service has a Wi-Fi head start. AirTran, for instance, has outfitted its entire 136-aircraft fleet with Wi-Fi along with Virgin America, which has a fleet of 30 Wi-Fi enabled planes. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are aggressively installing Wi-Fi equipment on their aircraft. Aircell built its system after it purchased spectrum that had been used by Verizon Communications' seatback Airfone system.

Registration is now open for the leading enterprise communications event, VoiceCon. It happens in San Francisco, Nov. 2-5. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll