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£8000 mobile phone app now available

An Australian outfit has announced what it claims is the world’s most expensive mobile phone app, but says it's cheap at the price, provided you own a private jet and it lets you use your mobile phone in-flight to make phone calls - a rather huge qualification.

However, the argument posed is that when you consider that conventional aircraft mobile phone systems can cost up to half a million dollars, £7,996 ($12,500) price tage doesn't sound so bad.

ASiQ Limited's CEO Ron Chapman said his company realised that the majority of corporate jets already have an inexpensive satellite link onboard. "Once we connected the mobile phone to the satellite link using Bluetooth, we ended up with a very inexpensive mobile phone voice and data solution. This a major breakthrough and the reason it’s all possible is we connect via Bluetooth, instead of the mobiles phone primary transmitter," he said. "In effect SafeCell delivers virtually the same features you receive from a conventional aircraft mobile phone system, but without the £320K price tag, roaming charges or additional 85Kg of weight."

Included with the App. for your $ £7,996 is a proprietary piece of software that controls the satellite link and converts any existing aircraft server, cockpit tablet, laptop, netbook or tablet PC into a mobile phone access point.

Most corporate aircraft have some form of computer onboard, even if it’s just a standard laptop, and the ASIQ app. can tap into existing systems to connect them, amounting to a further cost saving. Users who prefer a more permanent solution can pony up an additional £6,394 ($10,000) to install the SafeCell SC-AP combined aircraft server and Bluetooth access point.

The initial SafeCell data app. release is for Blackberry, Nokia and all Symbian-based mobile phones and PDAs. Android will follow shortly after.

For the iPhone, as it has a very restricted Bluetooth capability ASIQ charges an additional configuration fee. Chapman says that hopefully one day Apple will see the light and provide full open access to Bluetooth, adding that as part of the SafeCell data app. launch programme, orders placed before the 30th January 2011 will include a brand new mobile phone of the client's choice, a top of the line noise cancelling headset and hands free kit.

By using Bluetooth to connect directly to existing satellite ground stations, you operate outside of the global mobile roaming network, thereby eliminating roaming charges and the requirement for Telco approval. Conventional aircraft mobile phone technology is locked to the global mobile roaming network and when connected via satellite creates one of the most expensive mobile phone services in the world. Even worse, in the USA, where 90% of corporate jets operate, you are not permitted to even install them, which another reason for SafeCell's claim to uniqueness. Bluetooth is documented as safe for use in aircraft and is not subject to these restrictions.

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