Additionally, what has to date been predominantly a U.S.-centric market began to see an expansion of borders -- with deployments in Europe growing over the past year and new activity in the Middle East.
According to the latest market study by In-Stat, they now forecast that in-flight Wi-Fi revenues will surpass the $1.5 billion mark in 2015.
“While airlines initially viewed in-flight broadband as a competitive differentiator, it is now simply viewed in the U.S. market as a competitive requirement,” says Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at In-Stat.
The future of in-flight Wi-Fi will be less about convincing airlines of the merit and more about leveraging the network to provide a broader breadth of services.
As in the terrestrial hotspot market, Wi-Fi access is likely to become a commodity within the in-flight market, with the revenue opportunity resting on the services and value-added features, not the basic connectivity.
Findings from the latest In-stat's market study include:
- Take rates have increased significantly, moving from an average of 4 percent in 2010 up to 7 percent in 2011.
- While in international markets in-flight broadband is just entering the competitive differentiator stage, In-Stat believes it will rapidly transition to a competitive requirement in these markets as it did in the U.S. market.
- Combined, smartphones and tablets are now the predominant devices, in terms of percent of connects.
- In-flight broadband providers are beginning to introduce new revenue opportunities, including additional passenger services (video and voice) and operational services.