Verizon to End Airline Telephone Service

After 21 years of service, Verizon Aifone is planning to withdraw its phone services from commercial planes by the end of the year. The main reason is that the service was rarely used and they would have to invest too much in installing better technology that would tempt passengers to use it.

Verizon Communications are now planning to invest in its faster-growing broadband, cellular and television business. The company, which has 140 employees and is based in Oak Brook, Ill., is currently working with Delta, Continental, United Airline and US Airways and about 1000 of their planes have Verizon Airfone phones and other equipment installed. The company is still willing to sell the business but it's still a secret whether there are any potential buyers.

Last month Airfone withdrew its bid for licenses to provide broadband Internet services in planes, which was later won by AirCell and a branch of JetBlue Airways. They are expected to offer Internet-based phone calls and e-mail messaging through wireless "hot spots".

By 2010, when the current license expires, Airfone would have had do stop service or form a partnership with JetBlue and AirCell.

New York Times

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