With the increasing number of smart computing devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops, there is a rising need for availability of internet access. Moreover, with the emergence of cloud based personal and enterprise services, there has been an increase in consumers’ demands for high speed internet. Conventional communication networks such as 3G and 4G provide limited access for in-flight internet due to its horizontal infrastructure. The costs and issues pertaining to roaming mobile networks have made internet access over a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) network a viable solution for in-flight internet access. Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops are used by end users to access the internet for both business and entertainment purposes. In-flight Wi-Fi services aim to provide high speed internet access along with reliability and availability during the flight time of an aircraft. In-flight Wi-Fi services are deployed primarily using two technologies namely, Air-to-Ground (ATG) and satellite communications. The Air-to-Ground (ATG) technology is a cellular network which uses cellular towers to point their signal in a vertical skyward direction instead of a horizontal direction. The receiver installed underneath the aircraft picks up the signal and redistributes it within the aircraft using a Wi-Fi system. Cellular deployment offers an easy solution in geographical areas where land-based cellular towers already exist. Satellite deployment of in-flight Wi-Fi services makes direct use of satellite communication with the on-board Wi-Fi system on aircraft. Satellite communication provides a practical solution for providing internet services over inaccessible geographical areas and large water bodies.
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One of the major factors driving the in-flight Wi-Fi service market is the increasing use of smart devices by commuters. Smart devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops provide various applications over the internet. Internet access using a Wi-Fi network on such devices is preferred owing to its higher reliability and availability. Another factor driving the growth of in-flight Wi-Fi service market is the emergence of cloud-based applications. Such cloud based applications used for both business and leisure require a reliable internet access. Moreover, with a variety of passengers travelling in a flight, in-flight Wi-Fi services cater to satisfy numerous passenger needs. Business personnel require a high speed internet connection to carry out various business activities such as reporting, conferencing, scheduling etc. Other applications such as video streaming, music streaming and access to social media networks offer entertainment and leisure to the passengers. Despite its numerous applications and benefits, in-flight Wi-Fi services market faces several restraints in its growth owing to technical and safety issues. There is an ongoing dispute that use of electronic devices lead to electromagnetic interference to the avionics used in an aircraft for communication, navigation and display purposes. Thus, there is skepticism regarding the use of in-flight Wi-Fi services as any such interference could lead to a catastrophic event involving colossal loss of property and human life.
Owing to the immense opportunities in the in-flight Wi-Fi services market, several companies have started to devise solutions for onboard Wi-Fi access. Major players dominating the in-flight Wi-Fi services market are Gogo Inflight Internet and AT&T from U.S.
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Key Points Covered in the Report
- Market segmentation on the basis of type, application, product, and technology (as applicable)
- Geographic segmentation
- North America
- Market size and forecast for the various segments and geographies for the period from 2010 to 2020
- Company profiles of the leading companies operating in the market
- Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of the market
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