Under the deal, Morris Township, N.J.-based Honeywell will develop, produce and distribute onboard hardware for use with Inmarsat's global satellite network to provide Wi-Fi connectivity on airplanes. The deal is expected to be worth $2.8 billion in sales, customer service and maintenance over the next two decades for Honeywell. The Global Xpress network is expected to launch in 2013, and its service will be available to customers in 2014.
Honeywell's hardware will allow travelers to connect to the Global Xpress network regardless of where they are during a flight, the company said. The service will support everything from real-time social media, to video conferencing and multi-media presentation development while in-flight ... with an experience similar to being at home of in the office, the company said.
With this new service, the flow of information will no longer stop when the door to the aircraft closes. Honeywell identified global aircraft connectivity as a future growth trend, and through the combination of the recently acquired EMS Technologies, Inc.'s broad technology offerings and Honeywell's global aerospace franchise, the company is the perfect partner to launch the Inmarsat Global Xpress aerospace network, Tim Mahoney, CEO at Honeywell Aerospace, said.
Honeywell acquired EMS Technologies in August 2011 for $491 million. EMS specialized in mobile networking and satellite communications. EMS's Aviation division produced terminals, antennas, in-cabin network devices, rugged data storage and surveillance applications for aircraft, according to Honeywell.
Honeywell estimates that there will be 10 billion mobile devices, like smartphones, iPads and laptops by 2016, and data demand is expected to increase by a factor of 50 for smartphones and 62 for tablets. Honeywell and Inmarsat are expecting that increased use to carry over into airplanes.
Global Xpress will be the world's first global Ka-band service for aviation customers, Leo Mondale, Managing Director for Global Xpress at London-based Inmarsat said.
The Global Xpress network will provide speeds of up to 50Mbps and an uplink of 5Mbps for each unit, according to IT Wire. That bandwidth would likely be shared between all the users on an individual plane.
Honeywell shares fell 34 cents to $58.59 in midday trading.