The in-flight Wi-Fi market has been forecast to grow by over 600% through to 2015, rising from a valuation of approximately $225 million in 2011, to be worth a market value of over $1.5 billion in 2015, with travellers increasingly expected to take advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity in the coming years as more airlines begin offering the service.
In-flight Wi-Fi service deployments are expected to surpass 6,100 airplanes worldwide in 2015, up from 1,835 planes in 2011. Take-up rates for in-flight Wi-Fi have increased significantly, growing to an average of 7% in 2011 from 4% in 2010.
Growth within the in-flight Wi-Fi market is set to be fuelled by a number of factors including,
the increase in demand for connectivity onboard aircraft, the rapid penetration rates of smartphones and other communication gadgets, robust economies and aviation sectors in developing regions, the increase in accessibility to Internet, and technological advances in the area of in-Flight Wi-Fi.
The US represents the largest regional market for In-Flight Wi-Fi services worldwide, with what was initially viewed as a competitive differentiator, is now simply viewed in the US market as a competitive requirement. 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.
Since Google subsidised Wi-Fi access onboard select Delta, Air Tran (now part of Southwest) and Virgin America flights last holiday season, the share of passengers using Wi-Fi has grown from 4% to 7%.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming passengers' devices of choice. In-flight providers also are rolling out new passenger services like streaming video that could further boost revenue for the in-flight Wi-Fi industry. Most airlines that offer Wi-Fi price it at $11 to $49 for computer devices and $4.95 to $19.95 for mobile devices.
With more and more passengers getting used to some form of connectivity in the air, the market is set to continue to grow over the next decade as cellular and, particularly, Wi-Fi services become much more common. For many airlines, it will simply not be acceptable to fail to offer in-flight connectivity if rivals operating on the same route do so. As connectivity moves from a 'nice to have' to a 'must have' offering, it is predicted that 15,351 aircraft will be connected by the end of 2021.
For more information on the in-flight Wi-Fi market, see the latest research: In-Flight Wi-Fi Market
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