STC Group, the leading digital enabler in the region, and SkyFive Arabia, the leading provider of Air-to-Ground (A2G) based solutions and services, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce inflight connectivity (IFC) through A2G-based solutions to airlines in Saudi Arabia. With plans to further expand across the entire MENA region in the near future, the partnership will deliver unparalleled connectivity that will enrich passengers’ travel experience.

Through the MoU, stc aims to contribute towards the Kingdom’s digital transformation while providing unrivaled connectivity, be it on the ground or in-air.

Inflight connectivity through A2G-based solutions will enhance airline passengers’ experience, who will benefit from access to high-speed connectivity, allowing them to experience high-quality (up to 4K) video-streaming, web browsing, and social media usage.

Eng. Mohannad Makki, VP of Carrier and Wholesale at stc, said: “Having seen Saudis’ internet usage rocket by more than 92% in 2021 versus 2020, we know that our customers want to stay connected no matter where they are. Our partnership with SkyFive Arabia is the latest in a series of investments geared towards meeting the rapidly growing demand for high-speed and superior-quality connection services, by introducing innovative technologies that elevate the user experience. As the Kingdom’s digital transformation accelerates, stc is paving the way for our customers and business partners to connect in more ways than ever.”

Eng. Hazem Bahy, VP of Sales and Head of Business Saudi Arabia at SkyFive Arabia, said: “We are pleased to partner with stc for this milestone that will benefit the Kingdom’s aviation industry and beyond. Air-to-Ground brings broadband connectivity to the skies, providing airline passengers with an unmatched data experience. This unique service differentiator and digital enabler will undoubtedly enhance passengers’ experience so that they can enjoy the same great services in-air as on-ground.” 

stc and SkyFive Arabia have already tested this state-of-the-art technology on a flight between Riyadh and Jeddah, in collaboration with the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST) and a leading airline company. Following this, the service is expected to be launched across all deployed routes in the Kingdom and the region by 2025. 

The MoU follows the CST’s earlier announcement of stc as the auction winner for a 15-year license for both spectrum blocks – A2G-based network and mobile satellite services (MSS). The win supports stc’s ongoing contribution towards the Kingdom’s digital transformation, in alignment with the CST’s mission to enable innovative NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) technologies, provide end users with the latest generation of satellite technology, and to cover rural and remote areas in the Kingdom and beyond with the best telecom services.