Siemens has signed an exclusive contract with Airbus to jointly develop a solution for the use of in-flight communication via GSM. Siemens will provide the technology, while Airbus will take charge of its integration in the existing electronics systems. In addition, Airbus will be responsible for marketing the new solution to the airlines and for maintenance. The commercial launch of this new
customer service is planned for mid 2006. This means Airbus will now be able to offer the customers of the airlines full-time availability while in the air.
A decisive factor in Airbus's choice of Siemens as its partner in implementing this interesting service was the expertise of the company in realizing complex projects and innovative,
customer-oriented technologies. With the integration of GSM, airline passengers will in future be able to use their own mobile devices for in-flight phone calls or Internet surfing. During business flights in particular, but on private journeys too, continuous availability is a decisive quality factor for many passengers.
The GSM solution is implemented via a Siemens nano-GSM/GPRS base station on the airplane attached behind the ceiling panel, which allows reception for a mobile phone,
PC or organizer from any seat on the plane. The Siemens nano-GSM base station is the smallest and lightest base station in the world. The product is based on IP and is linked to the terrestrial GSM mobile network with the aid of satellite technology.
An important prerequisite for implementing the solution is the integration of channel selector technology. This technology prevents the end devices from establishing contact with terrestrial networks and hence interfering with the avionics. It therefore ensures that radio communication from the airplane is conducted solely via satellite. The new solution will be modular in structure so that it can be expanded to accommodate more GSM capacity and other technologies such as WLAN.
"Being able to use their mobile phones onboard aircraft has long been the wish of many passengers who often travel on business flights and depend on mobile communication
solutions", explained Christoph Caselitz, President of the business segment Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications. "We at Siemens are working hard on mobile
enterprise solutions that carriers and service providers can make available to their customers through wireless technology. The partnership between Siemens and Airbus will
ensure that this modern service is up and running soon and will open up new sources of revenue for the airlines."