Inmarsat, Deutsche Telekom, and the Lufthansa Group are extending their complimentary inflight wifi access plan. First launched in July 2019, the companies increased the number of covered customers in April 2020 and intend to keep the program alive at least through December 2021.
The simplicity of a plug-and play experience is the key reason why 40% of mobile subscribers in Europe actively use cellular roaming services when abroad. We now have the technology to fully emulate that cellular roaming experience on a flight. Merely turn on your smartphone and start using the inflight Wi-Fi services. Starting with mobile app based roaming – using the WISPr technology – we’ll expect to rapidly transition to fully automated cellular style roaming using Passpoint technology.– Asbjorn Christoffersen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Retail Revenue Management
The deal covers all domestic, short-haul and medium-haul flights operated on the A320 family aircraft with the Inmarsat GX Aviation service active.
Many more customers now eligible
Passengers on Lufthansa, Austrian and Eurowings with a Magenta Mobil “M” plan or higher can add the “Inflight Europa Flat” option free of charge to their account. Initially the offer was available for business customers on the L and XL plans and as a paid option for the M plan. Extending it to the personal users dramatically increases the number of potential customers accessing the service as part of their prepaid mobile phone plan.
In our daily lives, free internet access has for some time been an absolute expectation. More and more passengers are now expecting that same level of connectivity in the sky. This trend is intensified by the growing influence of digitally native consumers like Generation Z, which will become the largest group of passengers within the next decade.– Inmarsat Aviation Senior Vice President Niels Steenstrup
The offer also applies to business customers of Magyar Telekom, Hrvatski Telekom, Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic, who use the One App instead of Deutsche Telekom’s Connect App.
The deal also significantly expands on the initial free access offer on Eurowings in 2018. That was a 10 minute access package for all travelers, hoping to snag some follow-on purchases.
Supporting new portal captures
A key aspect of the new plans comes from how the capture portal handles user connections. Rather than requiring a separate user account or password the mobile devices are able to connect on wifi transparently to users, similar to how cellular service roaming works.
That’s the eventual plan, according to Asbjorn Christoffersen, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President of Retail Revenue Management, but the systems are not quite ready to support this Passpoint technology yet. Instead, app-based login will be used with the WISPr platform, with an eventual transition once the technology is fully ready to support the roaming.
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