High speed inflight connectivity over China took another step forward earlier this month, as Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) and SkyFive announced a partnership to integrate their services for airlines. The SkyFive air-to-ground networking hardware will connect to SPI’s RAVE on-board platform, with promises of incredibly high speed, low latency service to passengers.
Safran Passenger Innovations creates connected inflight experiences for today and the future, and broadband Internet access is a cornerstone of that. Developing a 5G ATG solution based on the SKYFive technology will put us right at the forefront of technology and customer services in the Chinese market.– Sebastien Weber, Chairman of Safran Passenger Innovations
The SkyFive 5G ATG platform is developed specifically for the Chinese market, but builds on the company’s strong history of deployments in Europe (the Inmarsat/Deutsche Telekom EAN platform is built on SkyFive technology). The company also has trial deployments running in other parts of the world, including New Zealand, Australia, and Saudi Arabia.
Thorsten Robrecht, CEO of SkyFive notes, “Teaming up with Safran Passenger Innovations to commercialize our solution and services for the demanding Chinese market puts us together in a very strong local position.”
This latest development follows Safran’s investment in SkyFive just over a year ago, and represents a further maturing of the associated technology.
It also comes as the Chinese government continues to define the standards against which airlines and service providers will be able to deliver such services on board. Having the capacity to offer near-Gigabit speeds to planes is significant. But regulatory approval for that service is far more challenging in China.
Because the telecom networks are controlled by the government it is expected that activating the towers across the country will be a relatively quick process once the approval is secured. This compares favorably to the timelines for deploying updated 5G ATG networks in the US market, for example.
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