The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) OpenRoaming provides a framework that could eliminate major barriers to connectivity and foster in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity for airlines, satellites and telcos
Most people are using smart devices and hence would like the option of using Wi-Fi in-flight not only to consume local entertainment options but to communicate with colleagues and/or friends and family. In-flight Wi-Fi is now extensively present in commercial aircraft but reports do not reflect the high use of Wi-Fi by passengers onboard compared to other environments on the ground such as malls, railways, airports, etc. Passengers have difficulty connecting to the Internet due to the traditional captive portal method. The unnecessarily complex connection process is the reason for the dropout of passengers from using in-flight Wi-Fi, resulting in revenue loss. This would obstruct passengers from accessing onboard services such as in-flight food and duty-free, which will result in another revenue loss for airlines and other ecosystem members.
Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “Connectivity today is fundamental for our daily lives and Wi-Fi is the most used wireless connectivity technology in the world. The in-flight Wi-Fi experience must improve to give vacationers and business travellers access to flight information, entertainment, social media, and more. But a host of technological and business challenges have prevented in-flight Wi-Fi from living up to its mainstream potential. This report shows airlines, mobile operators, avionics vendors, and other stakeholders how they can overcome those barriers to adoption — creating new revenue, branding, loyalty, and other business opportunities in the process.”
To overcome these barriers and improve the process, an aircraft can implement Passpoint which simplifies the process and exempts passengers from manually entering log-in credentials every time. Ideally, using Passpoint, the aircraft’s network automatically authenticates and connects them on every flight with an automatic, secure, and friction-free user experience. Passpoint enables airlines and other ecosystem members to engage in the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) OpenRoaming federation. By including the appropriate Roaming Consortium Organization Identifiers (RCOIs) in the network, airlines and other ecosystem members can support the advanced security, privacy, and automatic network-attached experience provided by Passpoint, which are key concerns for business travellers, with the convenience of OpenRoaming for authentication. OpenRoaming also enables travellers to get and stay connected at additional locations throughout their journey to and in the airport, hotels, convention centers, and any other public locations, and finally on board the aircraft.
Dr. Angelos Mavridis, Senior Wi-Fi Roaming Manager, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier said: “WBA OpenRoaming addresses the issues to connect automatically and securely to the internet and now provides the potential for passengers to take full advantage of all their in-flight services. The whitepaper describes in several use cases Inflight Connectivity from the viewpoint of stakeholders including airlines and mobile operators and demonstrates how new technologies can be used to increase user experience and uptake. As 60% of airline passengers state that being online while flying is a necessity and not a luxury, Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier offers roaming solutions for mobile operators to enable customers to roam on inflight networks as easily as they roam in foreign countries.”
Guillaume Vivet, Vice President, Digital Commerce & Experience, at Inmarsat said: “The vast potential of inflight connectivity to transform global aviation and enhance the passenger experience has never been in doubt. The global pandemic accelerated passenger demand for onboard digital interactions, and this demand is only growing. That’s why we introduced our customer experience platform OneFi, to bring a host of onboard services together within a single interface, helping to ease connection issues for passengers while allowing them to enjoy shopping, streaming, and real-time journey updates on their own devices. Simultaneously, OneFi enables multiple revenue-generation opportunities for airlines and their partners.