AT&T to launch in-flight Wifi service with air-to-ground LTE in 2015

By Andrew Martonik on 28 Apr 2014 05:36 pm EDT

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)



Wow!!! That's saax

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Observation Junkie

As David Bowie once sang:

Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (Five, Four, Three)
Check ignition and may God's love be with you (Two, One, Liftoff)

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare
"This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you "Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do."

 Posted by the Crackberry Pirate 


Two in flight providers? Should be good for competition

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Andrew Martonik

There are already multiple companies that provide in-flight Wifi, but not on the same planes of course. Gogo is just the most popular. Presumably AT&T will have some battling to do to get their service on planes instead of the others.


1) All I know, the plane carriers charge excessive amounts for WIFI use.

While ATT might be the network carrier, the plane carrier sets the rotten rates.

2) Does this also mean Internet Skype calls will be available (at the annoyance expense of nearby fellow passengers)?


I've always wondered if WiFi calling with TMO service was possible on Gogo networks. If Delta didn't plain suck, I would have tried it when they (Delta+Gogo) were running that free data for BB users promo.


I tried using it around 5 years ago and you could see the number calling you but then the voice channel got blocked. This was with an 8900 so it may have changed with the new wifi calling app that we have on T-Mobile.

I tried using BBM voice with someone who was in the air and using the BBM app on heir iPad and it actually did work. Can anyone else verify this?


Because this is air-to-ground and not satellite linked, I'm hoping that can keep costs under control for AT&T, and hopefully they can pass it on to the consumer by making it a bit more affordable than Gogo. Also, I'm guessing the ping will be better for AT&T's in-flight WiFi.

Via CB10 on Z10 | T-Mo |


Availability of economical Wi-Fi on airplanes will make long flights more bearable.


Gogo is reasonable but spotty service. AT&T has a huge opportunity here.


Gogo can f*ck right off. Thanks for telling me after I've paid that I can't use Youtube or Netflix, what else would I want it for on a ten hour flight?

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Email. Web browsing. Certainly not bandwidth hogging video consumption. Wifi speeds on planes are slow & unreliable enough. I do recall seeing a disclosure onboard when logging in.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30.


Uh-Oh, can you still use ICQ?


Is this safe?

Really, nothing else matters much.

Posted via CB10 from my Z10 on the Rogers network.

Wayne 4

Here I thought we could do this since 2001, didn't a bunch of folks make " let's roll" calls from their cell phones way back then......hmm mm I wonder what that implies?

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Those people on Flight 93 were using the old GTE Airphones. I remember working for Verizon back then and we had 2 different family members of passengers looking for a way to conference in the FBI. I still have the notes that I took with the passenger names that I was dealing with.


AT&T to launch in-flight Wifi service with air-to-ground LTE in 2015...and charge a million bucks per minute. AT&T: the Death Star is now airborne.


Doesn't VZW have better coverage around the non-urban continental US area? I'd rather them do this, but then again, they would probably charge more.

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Flights are meant to recover from the hangover you just received from your all inclusive vacation not listen to someone argue on the phone and everyone yelling over everyone else.

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Exactly, it's the only time people are off their phones. Every day I see morons on the trains glued to their phones with no interest in anything else going on around them - how sad we are now going to have this in the air!

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Prem WatsApp

It's like the sugar-filled pacifier for the kids...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

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Unless of course they decide to use the phones as phones,... then it gets noisy.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "


Wow nice

 Slicing using my 


I can use bbm on my Z30 both text and video on Delta with no problem. I don't bother other people but wave at my wife on her Z10 and show her the view out the window all the time. Lately there has been a free 30 minutes sponsored by allstate. Just put in any info and you get it. Only once per flight though. As for airlines. Delta works for me. No airline is perfect. I'm Diamond on Delta and enjoy all the perks and upgrades.

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Considering it's $50 to check a second bag I bet this will be stupidity priced.

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Worst thing that can happen. Peopke on planes are already annoying enough. I always thought flying first class was not worth it. Now I'll reconsider just to have some quiet time.

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I think listening to Donna in first class setting up her next an#l bleaching appointment might be just as annoying to someone in coach saying "what!? Can you hear me!? I can hear you!, but...."

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Yes, please tell me what airline so that I can avoid them!

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AT$T was so quick and efficient about getting the 10.2.1 update to its US base, can't wait to see how long it takes for this idea to take-off.

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Make it free. (sort of) Just roll it into the ticket price like they do everything else.

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Prem WatsApp

I'd prefer not to subsidise someone else's internet use or content consumption.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "


The bottom line is all airlines suck. Flying is a nightmare for the occasional flyer. For people like me who fly over 150,000 miles a year it is an ugly game you have to play and make it work for you. The airlines will continue to nickel and Dime the public. The only free things come to the high status frequent flyers. I get 3 free bags and about 98% of my flights upgraded to first class. And I'm treated like a vip but it is still no fun and full of bs. Delta has been my choice and I make it work for me. There are free Internet promotions like allstate is doing. Half hour is plenty. Then I try to sleep a bit. Whatever happens it won't be free or cheap. Nothing they do ever is. You just have to make it work for you if you fly a lot. If not it is what it is. And usually not good.

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OK who gives a isht do it on international flights and I might care.

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People who fly domestic.

Dave Hong

If this leads to lower prices through competition, I'm all for it. :)


What is that anything to do with BlackBerry? Then why write these stuff?

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Too bad I wont be able to use my AT&T Z30


Wow! Gonna be great!!

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Anybody else starting to be concerned about radio waves?. We are essentially sitting in a tin can with signal bouncing around us.

We are the first generation to have exposure to this much radiation (cellular, wifi, bluetooth, radio.. I'm sure it's not good for us. Example autism was once 1/5000, has now become 1/68 kids.

Food for thought

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Prem WatsApp

Exactly why I will minimize all electronics in the new eco-house I'm planning, and have all the gadgets, computers, TV and things either in the shed (Aussie man-cave) or use them outside (tropics, outdoor weather all year round).

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "


My question would end up being do people who already have AT&T as their service get it for fre?