Celebrating Five Years of Free Wifi on Norwegian

Norwegian Air Shuttle is celebrating five years of free wifi on its 737 fleet this week and has released an infographic to share some of the more interesting data points related to the milestone. And “interesting” is just the beginning when it comes to the numbers.

For example, the chart suggests 19 million users and 500 terabytes of data consumed through the life of the offering. Putting aside the part where the company breaks down that 500TB into what it would be in Netflix movies streamed – something which the solution simply does not support – the overall numbers suggest that the average consumption per user is 26 megabytes. This comes in at the low end of average per user consumption for non-metered connections.

The company also talks of 18,000 daily users. Given the average number of flights and the size of the connected fleet (still only the 737s; the 787s will not be equipped this year as previously suggested) this equates to a take rate of approximately 28%. Much better than what Gogo reports as a take rate (~5x) but still lower than I would expect for a free product, especially when taking into account the other bits the survey unearthed, such as 20% of passengers claiming they’d be annoyed if they could not access social media sites during a flight.

My only experiences with the product were less than stellar; I’d be surprised if I managed even the average 26 megabytes of consumption given the slow network performance. But that was also on this site of the Atlantic where the satellite capacity is a different situation; I’ve used the same underlying technology on an Icelandair flight and was much more impressed with performance, though also fewer users.

I like seeing the growth in number of fitted planes and options for travelers. But we’re still nowhere close to providing the capacity those users demand on a broad basis. This is progress but not the end game.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.