German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom and British satellite company Inmarsat recently announced their partnership to provide high-speed in-flight Internet access to airline passengers in Europe.
The European Aviation Network will combine satellite connectivity from a new Inmarsat S-band satellite with Deutsche Telekom's LTE-based ground network. The S-band satellite will provide multi-beam coverage across Europe using Inmarsat's 30 MHz (2 by 15 MHz) S-band spectrum that covers 28 member states in the European Union. Deutsche Telekom is going to build and manage 300 LTE sites with a range of more than 80 kilometers, or nearly 50 miles, while LTE sites usually have a range of 10 kilometers (about six miles) or less.
The LTE-based ground network is designed to combine with the satellite connectivity once the aircraft reaches 10,000 feet. Then, airline passengers will be able to use their Wi-Fi-enabled devices to do whatever they would normally do on the Internet when they're on the ground. The cabin systems will automatically manage the transition between the satellite and ground networks.
This is the first aviation connectivity network in Europe powered by both satellites and LTE, Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges said in a press release announcing the partnership.
German airline Lufthansa is the first to announce that it will participate in a flight trial program with the European Aviation Network beginning in 2017. Lufthansa is also scheduled to launch a new satellite-based broadband service based on recently-launched technology from Inmarsat for its European flights in the early summer of 2016.
Via: The Verge