AT&T is throwing its name into the hat of companies aiming to offer in-flight Internet service. The telecommunications company on Monday revealed plans to launch a high-speed connectivity service late next year that will be powered by a new air-to-ground network based on 4G LTE technology.
The company’s nationwide network will use existing spectrum already owned by AT&T and will lean on aerospace supplier Honeywell to provide hardware and service capabilities according to a press release on the matter.
The wireless provider will join companies like Gogo and Global Eagle Entertainment, both of which have struggled with reliability and finding a plan that’s affordable to airline passengers. Because of factors like this, few people are opting for in-flight Wi-Fi services these days despite the ever connected world we live in. Only six percent of passengers on average spring for Gogo’s service, the company said when it went public last year.
The news has already had a serious impact on the competition. Share value in Gogo is down more than 18 percent in after hours trading while Global Eagle Entertainment has lost around six percent as of writing.
If anyone has a solid shot at capitalizing on the in-flight Wi-Fi market, it’d be a wireless provide like AT&T. They already have the spectrum and with more than 116 million wireless subscribers, they could offer incentives or other discounts to encourage passengers to pay for in-flight service.