On my last two Virgin America flights I used Gogo to hook up to WiFi while we winged our way across country. The first time cost only $18 for the whole flight while my recent experience set me back about $10 more, it was well worth the investment.
Well now we just learned via a press release in today’s email in box that Gogo is taking the inflight experience outside the box to include calling and texting from your Smartphone using your own mobile phone number, too. The service launches October 1, 2013.
The press release explained that, “Because Gogo Biz operates on Aircell's air-to-ground technology, its voice calls are among the clearest in aviation – on par with mobile phone calls on the ground. As a "two-in-one" service, Gogo Biz offers Internet and voice capabilities from a single system, which can eliminate the need for separate systems, dramatically reducing equipment requirements and installation costs.” Monthly voice plans for Gogo Biz start at $134.95/month, which includes 60 voice minutes.
When the new service takes flight, passengers and crews can use Gogo Biz voice capabilities on their own smartphones and/or with Aircell's new cabin handsets, as detailed below:
- Gogo Text & Talk. Available with any Gogo Biz system, Gogo Text & Talk is obtained by purchasing a software key for the aircraft's onboard equipment and installing a free app on passengers' smartphones. The service will be available for iPhone 4, 4S and 5 beginning October 1, 2013. Support for select Android devices will begin on November 1, 2013. More information is available at www.aircell.com/gogotexttalk.
- The Gogo OnePhone. Aircell's Next-Generation Cabin Handset that provides superior voice quality and noise reduction technology. Its big, bright, touchscreen display and Android-based operating system mean it's very easy to use. High-end industrial design and carefully-chosen finishes and materials make it a perfect complement to any business aircraft interior. Wired and wireless options are available.
Shipments of the Gogo OnePhone will begin October 15, 2013.