Virgin Australia has commenced a three-month trial for in-flight Wi-Fi service on one domestic aircraft that will use Optus’ fleet of satellites and connectivity provider Gogo.
The trials will take place on board one of Virgin’s Boeing 737-800 domestic aircraft, allowing customers to use the service for free. Users will also be given three months’ free access to streaming services Netflix, Stan, and Pandora Plus as part of the trial.
Optus’ satellite division owns the highest number of satellites covering Australia and New Zealand, with five satellites in orbit providing coverage to the region.
“We want to ensure that guests can stay reliably connected in the air while also enjoying the fantastic entertainment and customer service for which Virgin Australia is well known,” Virgin Australia Airlines group executive John Thomas said.
Virgin Australia’s announcement follows rival airline Qantas launching its in-flight Wi-Fi in beta mode recently on-board one of its Boeing 737 aircraft that travels between Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, making the service available for around 15,000 customers per month travelling on these routes. While Virgin Australia has not yet announced what speeds it will provide, a series of live tests of Qantas’ service during the first commercial Wi-Fi flight saw speeds range between 2.57Mbps and 7.24Mbps download and 0.26Mbps and 0.61Mbps upload.