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AT&T abandons its plans for in-flight Wi-Fi

Don’t count on AT&T to make faster in-flight internet, as the carrier has just announced that it’s no longer working on a Gogo competitor. Ma Bell first revealed its plans to develop an air-to-ground network that has comparable speeds to LTE in April this year. Unfortunately, the company’s execs have changed their minds after reviewing their investment portfolio and cutting next year’s budget by 14 percent. Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt also said that one possible reason why the company decided to drop its in-flight WiFi plans is because most airlines are locked into long contracts with Gogo and other providers.

AT&T is abandoning an in-flight wireless initiative that would have positioned it to compete with services such as Gogo. The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier had announced plans this spring to bring high-speed 4G LTE wireless service to flights as soon as next year through a partnership with Honeywell. At the time, AT&T described the skies as full of opportunity — noting that nine out of 10 customers surveyed by Honeywell expressed frustrations with in-flight Wi-Fi, including inconsistent or slow connections. The carrier touted that its technological know-how and deftness at building and managing networks would allow it to provide better quality service. “We expect this service to transform connectivity in the aviation industry — we are truly mobilizing the sky,” AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey said at the time of the announcement. The carrier issued a statement Monday reversing course, saying it has decided to “no longer pursue entry into the inflight connectivity industry.” The news was first reported by RunwayGirl Network. AT&T said instead it plans to devote its resources to expanding its international presence through deals including the $2.5 billion offer to acquire Iusacell, a wireless company in Mexico.

 

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