In-flight Wi-Fi becoming more common and advanced

Oct. 10, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, AZ, 10 Oct. 2011. Recent research shows in-flight Wi-Fi is becoming more ubiquitous. Research company In-Stat predicts that in-flight Wi-Fi will become free in the near future, meaning providers will search for new revenue streams.

Posted by Skyler Frink

SCOTTSDALE, AZ, 10 Oct. 2011. Over the past year there has been significant growth in both the usage rates of in-flight broadband and number of planes deployed. With new providers now entering the market, growth is sure to continue in the coming year. Additionally, what has been a US-centric market began to see an expansion of borders with deployments in Europe growing over the past year and new activity in the Middle East. New research by In-Stat forecasts that in-flight Wi-Fi revenues will surpass the $1.5 billion mark in 2015.

"While airlines initially viewed in-flight broadband as a competitive differentiator, it is now simply viewed in the US market as a competitive requirement," says Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at In-Stat. "The future of in-flight Wi-Fi will be less about convincing airlines of the merit and more about leveraging the network to provide a broader breadth of services. As in the hotspot market, Wi-Fi access is likely to become a commodity in the in-flight market, with the revenue opportunity resting on the services and features, not the connection."

With more people taking advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi, the rate having increased from 4% of passengers to 7%, it isn't surprising that airlines are considering Wi-Fi a requirement.

As in-flight broadband has become more common, providers have found new ways to increase revenue. operational services and passenger services, such as voice and video, are being introduced for a fee.

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