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Qantas To Offer Internet Access On Australian Flights

American Airlines and Virgin America are not the only carriers that will re-introduce Internet access on their planes. While Lufthansa is providing Internet access in Europe, you will have to fly with Qantas in Australia.

The carrier announced that a year-long trial of AeroMobile’s technology has been completed and that the service will be introduced soon. Qantas opted for using a GSM base station inside a plane, which connects the plane to a ground signal coming from one of the numerous GSM base stations in Down Under. AeroMobile will be deployed on Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 767-300 aircrafts, Qantas said.

However, the airline’s service will be significantly limited when compared to the service offered by American carriers : Qantas chose technology that supports SIM cards with data access only, which are used by smartphones such as BlackBerrys or the iPhone. Data cards are also supported, but bear in mind that Qantas uses GSM-based technology, not CDMA. So, unless you have a true "world edition" phone, like the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, your Verizon/Nextel/Sprint devices won’t work.

The maximum connection speed is 80 Kb/s per device. Pricing was kept under wraps.