updated 04:25 pm EDT, Wed July 16, 2008
Aircell Wi-Fi going LTE 4G
Aircell, which will offer Wi-Fi access on airplanes while in flight via its Gogo service, today announced it would base its second generation of the service on the 4G Long Term Evolution data network. When the service goes live later on this year, it will use CDMA EVDO Rev A for data transfer during flights, topping out at more than 12 Mbps. By the end of 2009, Aircell plans to up that number to 22.7 Mbps with advances in its current technology. When the company incorporates the 4G LTE network in 2011, throughput speeds will jump to 300 Mbps, Aircell promises.
With the new network, fliers will be able to access HD programming, interactive TV and multi-player gaming. "With LTE, Aircell's Air-to-Ground (ATG) Inflight Internet technology is future-proofed," said Joe Cruz, Aircell's Chief Technical Officer, in a prepared statement.
Testing on a few American and Virgin America national flights began last year. The technology will allow passengers with Wi-Fi enabled devices to access the network. Costs are expected to be nearly $13 for access during flights longer than 3 hours, or about $10 for any journey below that. On the ground, AT&T, Verizon and Alltel are also using LTE for 4G network access.