Frequent fliers know there aren’t a vast amount of options offered to those flying 35,000 feet above the earth and looking to do a little web browsing. Currently, Gogo has become the defacto name of in-flight WiFi, but that might soon change. AT&T is now looking for a piece of that pie, announcing today that they plan to begin offering in-flight WiFi towards the tail-end of 2015.
Aside from allowing passengers of commercial, business, and general aviation flights to browse the web, AT&T says they’ll also be the source of onboard entertainment as well. But its not only for passengers, AT&T will use their network to improve connections between the plane and maintenance/crews services on the ground. AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey said in a statement:
“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.”
In a statment to Mashable, Gogo seemed confident they’d be able to hold their ground, saying:
“We think it validates what a great business Gogo has created and that some of the largest businesses in the world want to be a part of it. To compete in this business, we believe you need to be global and have global solutions and that’s what we are focused on right now. We are confident that our GTO/2Ku satellite technologies will compete with anything here both domestically and obviously globally.”
In order to get everything up and running, AT&T will have to rebuild their air-to-ground network in the US, taking advantage of the vast spectrum AT&T’s already owns. With Gogo now finally seeing some competition (their stocks also plummeted 24% after AT&T’s announcement, by the way), consumers could finally reap the benefits of a pricing war between the 2 companies. Affordable in-flight WiFi? It’s possible.
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