Honeywell Aerospace will be developing hardware exclusively for AT&T’s in-flight connectivity services, which will provide faster Wi-Fi for those on commercial airlines and business jets. Through 4G LTE, passengers will get improved ground-to-air speeds, which is expected to start as early as the end of 2015. This will also mean better connections for flight crew communications.
Announced on Monday, AT&T will develop the air-to-ground network that will allow Internet browsing and onboard entertainment. AT&T will become the main competition of GoGo, which already provides in-flight Internet access, voice calls, and text messaging but only runs on 3G speeds.
In a press release, chief strategy officer John Stankey said, “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.”
As the importance of technology expands worldwide, companies are looking for new ways to keep customers connected at all times. The Federal Aviation Administration is even allowing devices to stay on during flights (in airplane mode), due to the incredible demand. And with this increasing demand, the FCC has also expressed the desire to provide faster Wi-Fi speeds.
Honeywell will provide the hardware that will power AT&T’s air-to-ground connectivity services, which will be integrated with Honeywell’s GX and L-Band satellite systems. With these systems, passengers will be able to experience the extents of 4G LTE in the air as they would on the ground.
Honeywell expanded from solely from satellite communications and air-to-ground technologies, through the acquisition of EMS Technologies in 2011. The company went into the aviation business, producing service contracts with Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite constellation. Through these contracts, Honeywell has been building their relationship with AT&T to launch the in-flight Wi-Fi services.
AT&T has yet to announce any airline partners or pricing plans. The new network will only be available within the continental United States.