Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat, Monday announced a partnership to leverage LTE-based ground network and satellite network to deliver in-flight high-speed Internet access to air travelers in Europe. Using Inmarsat's new Inmarsat S-band satellite, airlines will benefit from a cost efficient and future-proof connectivity solution, said both companies.
According to the plan, Lufthansa will be the first European hub airline to capitalize on innovative connectivity services in the sky. Building on this strategic relationship, Lufthansa is committed to a flight trial program of the European Aviation Network from 2017 onwards.
The solution is based on mobile broadband network of approximately 300 LTE sites which Deutsche Telekom will build and manage. The LTE sites will have a range of more than 80 km (while conventional LTE sites have a range of 10 km or less), will be able to transmit data to the operating altitude of passenger planes, and are flexible enough to deal with the speed of a plane. Once the aircraft has reached 10,000ft, Deutsche Telekom’s ground network will be combined with the satellite connectivity.