SITAONAIR has inked a deal with United Arab Emirates-based mobile network operator (MNO) Etisalat to provide a roaming agreement allowing its customers to use their data and minutes in-flight as part of their business roaming bundle at no extra cost.

Yann Cabaret, VP customer programs at SITAONAIR, said, “We have long encouraged our mobile network operator partners to bring in-flight mobile usage rates as close as possible to on-the-ground mobile usage rates. This roaming agreement takes this even further, with the world of in-flight mobile connectivity opened up to all Etisalat customers when they fly, with no additional usage costs, and a seamless mobile experience up in the air, just as they have at home.

“We fully expect the growth in mobile use to continue, as customers’ hunger for data grows with the available capacity – especially in a 5G world, where data could transmit at a rate of 1 GB per second, driving the delivery of new Internet-of-Things, augmented and virtual reality, automation and artificial intelligence services and capabilities. To meet this future demand, major mobile operators have announced their plan to move into the 5G era with early commercial launches in 2019, including in the UAE.

“Airlines need to be ready to respond to this changing mobile reality. To meet their passengers’ burgeoning demand, they will need a gameplan for providing future-proof in-flight mobile connectivity that delivers the seamless, high-capacity and dynamic connected experience for passengers, as we fly to 4G and beyond.”

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