Linking a cell phone plan to inflight internet service could get a little easier, thanks to a new partnership between the Seamless Air Alliance and the GSMA. The deal sits a level above the consumer/airline interaction. Instead, if focuses on enabling easier negotiation of contracts between airlines and mobile phone providers around the globe.
Working with the GSMA positions us in front of over 750 mobile network operators and other service providers, paving the way to open dialogue and cooperation in bringing roaming services to airlines worldwide.– Jack Mandala, CEO of the Seamless Air Alliance
Under the announced agreement, the Seamless Air Alliance and the GSMA will work together to develop contract and request for proposal templates to assist with roaming proposals and negotiations, leveraging the GSMA’s decades of expertise.
The Alliance has been focused on removing the payment friction for inflight internet consumers since its launch in 2018. These proposal templates are similar in concept to the IFC Performance Tool launched by the group in mid-2022, as well as the SR1 roaming templates launched in 2020. They do not mandate performance, pricing, or even the metrics over which the partnerships will be measured. Instead, they provide a collection of those metrics for Alliance members to pick from as they develop contracts and partnerships around the globe. In many cases the templates also define how the performance of the partnership is measured.
That consistency of metrics eases the process on both sides of the negotiating table. Airlines can ensure performance and pricing commonality from mobile network operators around the globe, while those operators can know what is likely to be expected of them my multiple airline partners.
Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA added, “Our collaboration with the Seamless Air Alliance will facilitate and accelerate agreements between airlines and MNOs around their own route network to improve connectivity. We are excited to work with members of the Seamless Air Alliance to bring mobile roaming to the skies and deliver the best possible customer experience for airline passengers.”
To be clear, however, this is just a set of templates. The airlines and network operators still must agree to terms and implement the connections on board, including integration with their inflight wifi provider systems. And it could still require additional payment or subscription to specific data plans with a provider.
The process is getting smoother, but it remains a somewhat complex process on all sides.
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