Satellite-based in flight connectivity got a major boost today as Delta Air Lines and Gogo announced plans to fit more than 250 aircraft with the 2Ku system Gogo offers. Installations are expected to begin in 2016 on Delta’s larger single-aisle jets, including the A319, 737 and 757 fleets. These aircraft currently carry Gogo’s terrestrial ATG or ATG4 connectivity solutions providing up to 10mbit service to each aircraft. The 2Ku solution expects to offer 70mbit to each plane when it enters service and 100mbit as new Ku satellites are launched.
The deal also extends Delta‘s partnership with Gogo in a couple significant ways. There are several contracts between the two companies which cover the connectivity services. As part of the new deal the earliest expiration date for any of those contracts was extended to 2022. In other words, Delta and Gogo are going to be partners for a long time to come. Also, the announcement includes this note:
Delta will partner with Gogo in the launch of next generation air to ground technologies for short-haul domestic aircraft flying within the U.S.
As of right now there is no solid indication of exactly what this might include, though Gogo has repeatedly expressed strong interest in new allocations of bandwidth in the 14GHz range. The company knows that it is capacity constrained with its existing allocation and hopes to be able to grow through additional spectrum acquisition. This week’s agreement suggests that Delta will be a key partner in pioneering those services.
The move also makes it clear that 2Ku is jumping ahead of Gogo’s GTO product in terms of appeal to customers and deployment plans, despite GTO having been announced first. No surprise there, really; Gogo executives suggested that was likely many months ago. Still, this deal puts the change in writing, so to speak.
In the end this announcement means more and faster connectivity for passengers. And sufficient capacity per aircraft that Gogo might be able to finally scale back on its efforts to control consumption by wielding the “stick” of pricing premiums. As a consumer on a budget I’m a big fan of that idea.
- Gogo’s GTO: faster speeds, but still some limits
- Two bumps, one hump: Gogo’s 2Ku aims for fastest global connectivity solution
- Gogo, Virgin Atlantic partner for connectivity upgrade
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