Sky-high mobile data connectivity for an airline giant

When they’re seven miles high in the sky, connecting your customers can get pretty complicated.

Our partner was a retail specialist tasked with connecting a fleet for airline giant Etihad Airways. But with over 100 planes flying to 75 different countries, there was a big risk of running up huge roaming costs with international connectivity.

And with no point of reference for data usage, there was no way of knowing what tariff would suit them.

To top it all off, we needed to move with caution: planes are complex machines with a delicate balance of critical tech. We had to be sure a connectivity solution wouldn’t impact any other services like navigation, or communication.

The solution

We prepared a batch of intelligent Multi-network 4G SIMs, equipped with international roaming and a flexible mobile data pool to protect our partner from overages.These came with usage alerts and reporting to give our partner total visibility over their data. More importantly, we delivered this solution as an extension of the corporate Wide Area Network for the end client, enabling their security and existing compliance to be maintained.

And for added protection, we used device IMEI pairing to lock each SIM to a single device, preventing any dangerous misuse.

Before deployment, we spent three months analysing 70,000 of Etihad’s flights, then trialled the solution in Etihad’s testbed with 50 aircraft to make sure it didn’t interfere with other critical services. Then, with just a couple of weeks to get 1,000 devices into the aircraft fleet, we deployed like the wind.

The result

Now Etihad’s aircraft fleet is equipped with the best mobile connectivity on the market, powering their in-flight retail and entertainment.

Meanwhile our partner gets to enjoy a new revenue stream with no configuration hassles, no juggling prices, and no fear of overages. They’re projecting £10m in revenue from taking the solution to other airlines.

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