SA in cordial reception of country’s first in-flight Wi-Fi

Low-cost carrier Mango, in partnership with WirelesG, an Internet service provider, and mobile operator Vodacom on Tuesday launched South Africa’s first ever in-flight Wi-Fi.

The service, expected to allow for full Internet connectivity aboard Mango’s aircrafts, will include sending and receiving emails, Web browsing and social network use. An air-to-land SMS service will also be available managed through a Web service.

“The G-Connect In-Flight Wi-Fi service is offered in a totally new, integrated model and it’s regarded as a carrier-grade telecommunications access medium”, said WirelessG CEO, Carel van der Merwe.

The service is compatible with most Wi-Fi enabled devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops. Vodacom, although with a wide network coverage, will convert its satellite infrastructure to ensure connectivity even at 800km/h at 30,000 feet above sea level.

“The introduction of on-board connectivity fulfils our airline’s on-going ideal of innovation in aviation and its desire for product differentiation,” Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said.

There are three packages on offer: One-Way Access, priced at R50 ($6.25) per single sector flight, a one-day pass available at R90 ($11.25), irrespective of the number of flights completed during a 20-hour period, and a per-minute option, billed through G-Connect online account. All three packages offer unlimited data use during the allotted time.

The service will be constantly monitored. Users will have a real-time support.

To ensure the quality of the service remains unimpeded, data-heavy services like YouTube and peer-to-peer downloads will be disallowed.

Mango was the first airline to retail air travel through supermarkets and remains the only airline in the world to accept store charge cards.

The service comes after a survey that showed 88 percent of travellers preferred broadband access while on flight.

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