Lufthansa Airlines is the first European airline to trial the European Aviation Network developed by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat, an in-flight 4G broadband network experience using on-ground LTE sites and custom-designed satellite networks.
Photo by Inmarsat.com
On account of a deal made with Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat plc, Lufthansa Group, a global aviation group, headquartered in Germany, will offer onboard WiFi on short and medium-haul flights. Lufthansa, together with two of the top telecommunication companies in Europe, wants to offer flyers an in-flight 4G broadband network that includes services, like video streaming, with the same quality of high-speed internet that customers have access to on the ground.
This innovative technology developed by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat can operate interchangeably as the Wi-Fi connectivity will switch from the ground to the satellite once the aircraft rises above 10,000 feet. The LTE sites’ range of coverage can extend up to 80km (instead of 10 km of conventional sites). This integrated network named the European Aviation Network is expected to deliver a fast, capable and consistent broadband experience for any type of aircraft, above land or water. Their flight trial programme is currently getting ready to be launched with Lufthansa group and the service will be available starting summer 2016 in nearly 180 planes.
The costs of this venture have yet to be revealed and consumers are unsure of what to expect in terms of pricing. Based on information published by e-dreams, There are currently 55 airlines worldwide that provide in-flight WiFi, of those 55 only 8 offer a WiFi service free of charge. Although a number of airlines already offer onboard broadband WiFi, including Vueling, Norwegian Air and some US-based airlines, Lufthansa will be the first to provide a high-speed internet connectivity which consists of a combination of 300 on-ground LTE sites and custom-designed satellite networks, instead of the ground-based broadband connectivity currently being used.
As leaders in providing digital services on board their airlines, having been the first airline in the world with onboard Wi-Fi available in 2003, Lufthansa will be the first European airline to implement this new-generation 4G broadband in-flight technology.