Press Release
Press Release

ASIQ doing steps in patenting SafeCell
ASIQ doing steps in patenting SafeCell
September 11, 2007

Australian inflight connectivity specialist ASiQ, also known as ASI Entertainment, is obtaining international patent protection for its SafeCell onboard cellphone solution.

“Our International Patent Co-operation Treaty application is the second step in the patent process for the SafeCell concept, which allows cellphones to be operated inflight without interfering with the aircraft's avionics and the ground networks,” says ASiQ chief executive Ron Chapman.

SafeCell was introduced at last year’s WAEA show in Miami Beach. Its user components comprise a software load for the cellphone, a small external hardware accessory called the Communicator that is expected to retail at about the same price as a Bluetooth headset, and a radio-opaque pouch designed to enclose the phone and rule out interference with aircraft avionics and ground networks.

The software is loaded to the phone in the same way as, for example, a new ringtone. It takes control of the phone, disabling the cellular voice function and routing SMS and text email messages via the USB or Bluetooth ports to the Communicator, which is similar in size to a couple of matchboxes.

“The USB port is linked to the Communicator by cable,” said Chapman. “But most of the new mobile phones recently introduced also have Bluetooth short-range wireless, so we’ve adopted that as an even more convenient way of linking phone and Communicator.”

The Communicator is essentially a miniature transceiver capable of receiving cellular data in all the leading formats (including GSM, CDMA, W-CDMA and UMTS), processing it and transmitting it to the aircraft’s existing WiFi cabin wireless network for delivery to a dedicated SafeCell server. The latter then hands the messages off to the aircraft’s existing Inmarsat Swift installation for transmission by satellite to the ground.
The system can also support voice calling, converting voice inputs to IP for transmission via WiFi and satellite.

ASiQ is marketing the SafeCell onboard infrastructure to airlines at prices starting at $10,000 per aircraft.
It is also offering service, with text messages costing the passenger $0.25 each and VoIP less than $1.00 a minute.
Any credit remaining after the flight will be usable in ground WiFi hotspots, ASiQ says.

“SafeCell turns a normal cellphone into a WiFi communicator to facilitate access to data and voice services without incurring the high costs of cellular roaming,” says Chapman.
“It combines the features of a cellphone with the low costs of a wireless Internet connection while eliminating the need for a picocell on the aircraft.”