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Air New Zealand to Offer Mobile Text and Email Services Inflight

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Air New Zealand's new Boeing 777-300 aircraft will have mobile phone and data capability. The first aircraft is due for delivery in November this year.

The introduction of the new service will enable Air New Zealand’s customers to use their iPhone, Blackberry and GSM mobile phones to send and receive emails and text messages during their flights.

“Feedback from our customers has shown they wish to be able to text, and check emails, to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues during their long-haul flights,” said Ed Sims Air New Zealand Group General Manager International Airline.

The new service will also enable customers to use their Netbooks or laptops used in conjunction with their mobile broadband connection (e.g. Telecom’s T-Stick and Vodafone’s Vodem) to access their emails and internet.

Based on recent customer feedback, Air New Zealand has said it does not currently plan to enable voice calls onboard.

“Customers onboard our new Boeing 777-300 aircraft will be able to use their own GSM/GPRS devices safely when the system is activated during the cruise stage of flight,” said Mr Sims. “Passengers will also be requested to keep their phones on ‘silent’ mode.”

Air New Zealand is delivering this service to its customers in partnership with Aeromobile. Customers will be billed by their own mobile service provider, as with any other international roaming plan.

Standard inflight roaming costs apply, which with Telecom XT is 80c per outbound text and no cost to receive them. The cost for mobile broadband is a staggering $40 per megabyte of data. Other mobile phone providers, including Vodafone, will be confirming pricing in the coming months.

The new mobile text and data service is subject to regulatory approval.

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