Beyond VoIP TMC

VoIP is No Longer Pie in the Sky

May 15, 2006

In a year or so, U.S. airline passengers will be able make and take VoIP calls while jetting around the country. An FCC frequency auction is currently underway that will allow for in-flight VoIP calls, and nine companies, including Verizion Communication's Airfone division, JetBlue Airways, AC BidCo, Acadia Broadand, AMTS Consortium, Intelligent Transport & Monitoring Wireless, Space Data Spectrum Holdings, and Unison Spectrum, are in the bidding. Two winners are expected in the auction for spectrum in the 800 Mhz band.

Although Airfone already offers phone service on many flights, the high cost of such service has served to greatly limit its use.

I expect a backlash from frequent flyers and some airline attendants who (understandably) want some peace and quiet while they fly hither and fro, and it will also provide some new fodder for comedians on Comedy Central, but if in-flight calling costs truly do come down to earth, I predict it'll be wildly successful.

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