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4G planes are heading to Europe soon with the help of satellites

13th October 2015


4G is now widely available across the UK, but hop on a plane and you’re often cut off from the outside world. That could be about to change though, as British technology firm Inmarsat is working with Deutsche Telecom to create 4G planes.

The two are set to build the European Aviation Network, which is a mobile network that uses a combination of 4G ground networks and a satellite network, to bring 4G sky-high, allowing for 4G planes.

4G Planes will obviously be hugely beneficial to passengers. They'll make flights less like dead time by empowering passengers to work, communicate and play while on board.

The European Aviation Network has been designed to provide a long-term solution with plenty of capacity, speed, and coverage to apparently equal an at-home high-speed broadband customer experience while aboard an airplane. So it should work well and be future-proofed, ensuring planes don’t once again fall behind in mobile technology.

“This bold step will make Deutsche Telekom the first telecommunications operator to take the advantages of LTE technology to the European airspace and fits perfectly into our strategy to become the leading European telco,” explained Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom.

“As a groundbreaking innovation we will roll out a powerful terrestrial network based on LTE within the European Aviation Network. This will be the first aviation connectivity network in Europe powered by both LTE and satellite combined!

“Our technology leadership provides a solid foundation for the best customer experience possible – be that on the ground or in the skies – and enables us to work with the finest partners in Europe and beyond.”

Lufthansa is getting in early, with the airline planning to trial the technology in on board European flights in 2016, but a full roll out isn’t likely before 2017. So there’s still over a year to wait before there’ll be many 4G planes.

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