AT&T to Enter In-Flight Wi-Fi Business

By Paul Riegler on 28 April 2014
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AT&T announced it will offer a high-speed in-flight Internet service next year.

The Dallas-based telecommunications giant said it will build an air-to-ground 4G LTE-based network and offer the service to airlines as well as private jet operators.  The company will use spectrum it already owns to support high-speed access for airline passengers and business aviation. It will also eventually offer support for cockpit communications, maintenance operations, and crew services.

AT&T said it plans to work with Honeywell to build the new offering.  It plans to leverage its existing relationships in the aviation industry to develop and launch the solution.

Although in-flight Internet has been around for more than a decade, AT&T plans to provide customers with a “better experience,” noting that people expect reliable mobile Internet everywhere, including in the air.  “We expect this service to transform connectivity in the aviation industry,“ said John Stankey, the company’s chief strategy officer.  “We are truly mobilizing the sky.”

Earlier this month, AT&T announced that its first-quarter revenue rose 3.6% year-over-year to $32.5 billion. Overall, the carrier added 625,000 of the industry’s valued “postpaid” customers in the quarter, its highest first-quarter total in five years.

Gogo, one of the largest providers of in-flight Internet, saw its stock drop as much as 24% in after-hours trading following AT&T’s announcement.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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