AT&T to launch in-flight Wifi service with air-to-ground LTE in 2015
AT&T is set to take on the likes of Gogo in a battle for in-flight Wifi, as the carrier announced its plans to offer a service based on its current LTE network. Starting in late 2015, AT&T will begin to implement a new air-to-ground communication between planes and its existing LTE network to provide in-flight Wifi and entertainment to passengers flying in the U.S. (notably omitting international flights). The service will utilize spectrum that AT&T already owns, and the carrier will be partnering with Honeywell to make sure everything goes according to plan.
John Stankey, Chief Strategy Officer at AT&T, had this to say:
"Everyone wants access to high-speed, reliable mobile Internet wherever they are, including at 35,000 feet. We are building on AT&T's significant strengths to develop in-flight connectivity technology unlike any other that exists today, based on 4G LTE standards. We believe this will enable airlines and passengers to benefit from reliable high speeds and a better experience. We expect this service to transform connectivity in the aviation industry – we are truly mobilizing the sky."
It isn't clear at this time what airlines AT&T will be partnering with, but the carrier indicates that it "will build on existing relationships within the aviation industry to deliver a better customer experience than what is available from others today." Anyone who has used in-flight Wifi from any provider knows that it can be a hit-or-miss experience, so a new competitor in this space building on a strong existing network could make things interesting.
Source: AT&T (BusinessWire)