Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat today announced a strategic partnership bringing unprecedented passenger connectivity to Europe’s aviation industry and its customers.
A new innovative, combined LTE-based ground network and satellite network will deliver passengers in Europe the advantage of in-flight high-speed Internet access when in the air. Airlines will benefit from a cost efficient and future-proof connectivity solution.
Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat are working together to develop the European Aviation Network seamlessly combining satellite connectivity from a new Inmarsat S-band satellite with an LTE-based ground network developed and run by Deutsche Telekom.
Lufthansa will be the first European hub airline to capitalise on innovative connectivity services in the sky. In early summer 2016, Lufthansa will launch a state-of-the-art satellite-based broadband service on board its European flights, which is based on the recently launched technology provided by Inmarsat.
Building on this strategic relationship, Lufthansa is committed to a flight trial programme of the European Aviation Network from 2017 onwards.
The connectivity platforms developed by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have been designed specifically to meet the growing needs of passengers travelling across the high-traffic flight paths in Europe. They provide a long-term solution with abundant capacity, speed, and coverage to equal an at-home high-speed broadband customer experience while aboard an airplane.
A first for Europe, the European Aviation Network consists of the Inmarsat S-band satellite, a state-of the-art platform, which will provide multi-beam pan-European coverage.
The satellite is custom-designed to offer innovative mobile satellite services (MSS) to commercial and business airlines flying over the dense European routes, exploiting Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states.
It is combined on the ground with a new powerful 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. The switching between the satellite and the ground will be automatically managed by the cabin systems, creating no impact or interference with the service delivered on board.
N.B. Image credit: inmarsat.com