You may have heard about SafeCell, a patented in-flight mobile phone solution by ASIQ Australia. ASIQ has announced the release of the Android version of SafeCell and call it the world’s most affordable in-flight mobile phone solution for corporate jets. The app is pretty splendid and worthy in a corporate environment. Safecell costs about USD $13,000 and is “most expensive app on iOS” in the Android market. You can use Safecell in the USA and several other countries where conventional mobile phone systems are banned. It connects you to the satellite system with no more roaming charges and no matter which satellite you have onboard, Iridium, Inmarsat or Thuraya.
The press release tells the further story:
The App can be installed on unlimited mobiles at no extra charge however, with a single channel license only one mobile can log on at a time, whereas with a multi channel license, up to six mobiles can operate simultaneously. We developed the App this way as the majority of smaller jets only have one channel, whereas the bigger jets have broadband and up to six channels.” From as little as $12,500 for a single channel license, up to $17,500 for a multi channel license, its cheap compared to $350 – $500K for conventional mobile phone technology
Ron Chapman ASIQ’s CEO stated that “the development of the Android App follows on from our initial Blackberry and Symbian versions. I am very excited about this version and congratulate our developers on how quickly they were able to develop this platform. We now see why Android has gained such a high consumer acceptance. The App is very fast, which means that making a call at 30,000 feet or sending a message is just as simple as if you were using your mobile on the ground.
Ron also said, “Our developers are now focusing their attention on the iPhone. While it has its own unique set of challenges; it’s more an integration issue rather than reinventing the wheel. This is because the proprietary ASIQ Bluetooth protocol is absolutely unique and has been designed to work with multiple platforms. With the iPhone complete we will have every major platform covered, that you could expect on an airline system.”
By using Bluetooth to connect directly into the existing satellites ground stations, you operate outside of the global mobile roaming network, thereby eliminating roaming charges and the requirement for Telco approval. Conventional aircraft mobile phone technology is locked to the global mobile roaming network and when connected via satellite creates one of the most expensive mobile phone services in the world. Even worse, in the USA, where 90% of corporate jets operate, you cannot even install them. This is why SafeCell is unique. Bluetooth is documented as safe for use in aircraft and does not have these restrictions.