Bangkok (Thailand) – August 31, 2013 – With many airlines already providing on-board WiFi service and with millions of users daily, Thai Airways (THAI) is attempting to catch-up and is keen to improve it’s loss making results in 1H13 even as tourism booms in the Land of Smiles.
It is believed that on board services will improve if passengers can stay connected and financial results will improve (as long as the cabin staff don’t join customers in tweeting or updating their Facebook and SMS’s and emails.)
THAI plans to make WiFi internet available on flights as the national carrier prepares to apply for a licence with the national telecom regulator.
Two years ago, the airline asked the regulator for two licences to provide both in-flight WiFi and mobile service.
However they could not award a licence for mobile services said Jesada Sivaraks, secretary to the vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), as it would violate Section 46 of the Frequency Allocation Act, which stipulates that such a spectrum must be allocated via auction only.
The NBTC reserves the 2.4-gigahertz spectrum for WiFi use on board.
THAI is obliged to choose either OnAir of Switzerland or Britain’s AeroMobile Communications as an international WiFi network service provider.
OnAir is incorporated as a joint venture with Airbus. As of March, OnAir services were available in more than 50 countries and via 16 airlines flying over five continents.
AeroMobile, incorporated with Boeing, provides technology and services that enable airline passengers to use their mobile phones for voice calls, texting and mobile data while flying.
Since 2008, more than 17 million passengers have connected to the AeroMobile network.
The NBTC recommends TOT and CAT Telecom to expand their WiFi network coverage nationwide to alleviate mobile data traffic congestion.
Wireless data traffic volume in Thailand has surged 145% this year, resulting in heavy congestion on mobile networks.
Andrew J Wood
Skål International Thailand