Inmarsat and Thales, the Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) company, have jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to market and promote Inmarsat's connectivity solutions to the commercial aviation market.
Under the MoU, SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation will be the primary and preferred satellite connectivity services for Thales' TopSeries IFEC system.
Working in partnership with Inmarsat and its Value Added Resellers, Thales will deliver the full range of GSM and internet services to airlines and passengers.
SwiftBroadband provides global voice and data connectivity for the entire aircraft, from safety communications in the cockpit to high-speed broadband in the cabin.
The service is powered by Inmarsat's current constellation of L-band satellites, which now includes Alphasat, the world's most advanced mobile communications satellite, which was launched in July.
Coverage will be complemented in 2015 when Inmarsat's Global Xpress Aviation service goes live following the launch of the next-generation Inmarsat-5 satellites.
Global Xpress will be the first worldwide mobile satellite network to offer superfast broadband at speeds of up to 49Mbps in the Ka-band portion of the radio spectrum.
The partnership between Inmarsat and Thales will ensure commercial aviation has the best IFEC solution available in the Global Xpress era and that growing passenger demand for inflight connectivity is met.
Miranda Mills, President Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat invests billions of dollars in delivering high speed mobile satellite services. As a result, SwiftBroadband and GX Aviation complement each other perfectly, covering the full range of airlines' connectivity needs, both now and in the future.
“We already provide satcom solutions to more than 15,000 aircraft. Working with Thales, we will extend our reach further, bringing the benefits of our scalable global networks to more and more airlines around the world.”
Dominique Giannoni, CEO of Thales IFEC, said: “In today's world, passengers are no longer prepared to remain out of communications for the duration of a whole flight.
“It is up to global organisations such as Thales and Inmarsat to ensure that airlines are able to provide customers with fast, reliable and, above all, safe connectivity.
“The ultimate aim of this agreement is to achieve today in the airline market what network operators and mobile phone manufacturers achieved a decade ago.”