Skift Take

It's about time.

The wait is almost over: JetBlue says it will launch onboard WiFi on its first aircraft in the first quarter of 2013.

Speaking during the airline’s third-quarter earnings conference call today, CEO David Barger said the service from subsidiary LiveTV and based on Ka-band satellite technology will be offered for free for “baseline connectivity,” with upgrade options.

Barger didn’t provide any immediate details on what would be included in the free service, and what the upgrade benefits would be. There also was no word on pricing, or timetables to outfit the whole fleet with Wi-Fi.

Barger said he believes the service will be a “competitive advantage” for JetBlue, particularly in business-travel markets.

JetBlue has been late to the game in providing on-board Wi-Fi, and it explained its reasoning here.

Although JetBlue flies some over-water routes to destinations such as San Juan, St. Croix and St. Thomas, spokesperson Alison Croyle says the new service from LiveTV will be available initially in the contiguous 48 states.

JetBlue’s Airbus A320s will be the first to get the service, followed by the airline’s Embraer E190s, Croyle says.

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Tags: jetblue airways, wi-fi

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