Payment friction remains a significant barrier to getting passengers online with inflight connectivity solutions. One Indian mobile phone provider hopes to ease that burden with new roaming plans focused specifically on the market. Jio announced new plans this week where subscribers can roam on board 22 airlines using a data package tied to their phone bill.
The service is tied to the AeroMobile platform, a cellular-based system from Panasonic Avionics. It is installed in conjunction with some of the eXConnect implementations on airlines around the world. Of the carriers listed roughly half operate flights to India. In some cases, such as Virgin Atlantic, Malaysia Airlines, or Biman Bangladesh, the flights operating to India do not have the AeroMobile hardware installed. But passengers with onward connections might be able to use the service. In other cases the participating airlines (10 of the 22) do not serve India at all.
The limited availability of a connection on the aircraft could lead to confused and frustrated consumers. But where the plans work they can beat the price charged on board in many cases.
Packages are valid for 24 hours once activated on an aircraft. For a return flight the subscriber will need to buy additional service.
While local media in India is hyping this deal as a huge move by Jio into the inflight connectivity market the reality is a bit more subdued. It will ease the connection process for many users and anything to reduce the roaming fees on the AeroMobile network deserves to be celebrated. But this also comes up very short of Jio actively deploying an inflight wifi solution.
It also comes up short compared to the tight integration for T-Mobile customers in Germany and the Deutsch Telekom connectivity options on Lufthansa Group’s short-haul fleet. That program began as a flat-rate add-on and is now bundled with most post-paid packages for consumers.
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.