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Goodbye to Airfone Service

You will likely not care at all that Verizon’s Airfone service will disappear from all airplanes by the end of the year.  The wildly expensive product never really caught on, as people didn’t want to pay 69 cents a minute for a terrible connection.  Verizon tried to expand its product to include instant messenger and email (they called it Jet Connect), but even at reduced rates, it was a product without a market.

Back in my analyst days, I got in trouble with Verizon when I wrote that people shouldn’t use Jet Connect because business travelers deserve a break from the office when they’re on a plane.  I then found out that Verizon was a client and they were rather pissed off.  Oops.

Meanwhile, when I was looking for the article where I pooh-poohed the product, I found this article from June 2004 where I predicted that JetBlue would be the first US airline to offer in-flight Wi-Fi.  Indeed, JetBlue just won a license to offer in-flight broadband.  I wasn’t right all that often as an analyst, but sometimes I feel vindicated.  Even if it’s 2 years later.

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