In the Americas the relationship between Gogo and TMobile to deliver complimentary inflight wifi to passengers is well established. Europe is about to see a similar solution launch. Telekom and Lufthansa Group are teaming up to deliver connectivity in the sky as part of the mobile tariff on the ground.
For Telekom, the ISP powering the Inmarsat Global Xpress connection on board, it is very much about creating a transparent user experience. David Fox, VP Inflight Services and Connectivity, suggests that “We give access to hotspots on the ground and this is just another hotspot; of course it should be included in the tariff.” The carrier has a hotspot app available to passengers today that enables the login to those WiFi connections. In October 2018 connected aircraft will be added as hotspot locations on that app, smoothing the connection process.
Exact pricing details are not yet published but the plan is expected to be included as either a flat-rate add-on option to a business package or simply included, depending on which plan the customer chooses.
Transitioning more connections to a seamless payment on board is proven to be an effective way to increase take rate (though free is even better). Transitioning the payment to mobile phone bills is core to the nascent Seamless Alliance program as well. Those efforts often result in not just better revenue for the telco/payment handler but also better revenue for the airline and the connectivity service provider as well. And, somewhat incongruously, consumers often see this as a positive development as well, even though their spend may increase as a result.