Chinese IFC provider, UnicomAirNet (UAN) has signed a multi-year agreement with Eutelsat Asia, to address the fast-growing in-flight connectivity (IFC) market in the Asia Pacific region.
UnicomAirNet was established in 2017 by China Unicom’s broadband network unit and Hangmei, a Chinese wi-fi service and content provider for railways and buses, to provide IFC services to Chinese commercial airlines.
Beginning in 2019, UnicomAirNet will lease the remaining capacity on the high-throughput payload of the Eutelsat 172B satellite, to enhance IFC services across an area stretching from the west coast of North America to Asia and Australia.
The agreement follows the signature in January of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between China Unicom and Eutelsat, which aims to address the satellite communications market in Asia Pacific, within the framework of the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.
The Eutelsat 172B satellite was built by Airbus and launched in June 2017 on-board an Ariane 5 rocket. It is the first European all-electric satellite and is optimized for in-flight connectivity, with its high-throughput payload of 11 spot beams enhancing efficiency, enabling dynamic power allocation on high-traffic air routes in the Asia Pacific region.
Herman Guo, general manager of UnicomAirNet, said, “The trans-Pacific region is the world’s busiest aviation market, with the fastest growth rate. Eutelsat 172B will provide high-quality IFC services to passengers with the best performance and efficiency.”