Farrar of Telecom Media cautioned that although Row 44's Wi-Fi service is innovative, the company's profitability depends on how much people are willing to pay for the service. This is what ultimately sank Connexion, and it has the potential to do the same to other Wi-Fi providers if they don't get their price right, he said.
"There is a huge appetite for online entertainment right now," Farrar said. "It's just hard to get the everyday passenger unless the price is low."
Row 44 is facing stiff competition from Aircell, which uses a network of ground antenna sites across the U.S. to establish a link with the airplane. Passengers connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi devices placed within the plane's cabin.
Aircell is available on all Virgin America and AirTran Airways flights. It can also be found on some American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines flights. Aircell's typical charge for a single session ranges from $6 to $13.