AT&T to begin offering in-flight 4G LTE connection

AT&T announced yesterday that it’s working on a way to bring in-flight Internet access to planes using technology based on the 4G LTE network it uses for smartphones and tablets. Gogo’s stock tanked on the news. It was down as much as 24% after hours. Gogo is one of the most popular providers of in-flight WiFi. AT&T says it will start offering in-flight Internet in late 2015. It’s partnering with Honeywell to install the necessary equipment on planes.

Detailed within a AT&T press release, the wireless service provider is working on a connectivity service for airlines that will provide speedy, 4G download speeds to passengers. Targeting late 2015 as a launch window for the service, the system will be able to provide a number of in-flight entertainment options as well as fast broadband service to peruse the Web while in the air. Beyond passenger planes, AT&T is also planning to target business aircraft and general aviation aircraft for the launch. Speaking about the planned launch of the new service, AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey said “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.

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