AT&T will give you in-flight LTE at 30,000 feet by 2016

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Sick of in-flight WiFi that blows chunks? If you’re an AT&T customer, you could have LTE at 30,000 feet as early as late 2015.

AT&T announced on Monday that they are planning to launch in-flight 4G connectivity as early as next year, making it possible for iPhone, Android and other smartphone and tablet users to keep connected at blazing fast speeds even during the longest flight.

“AT&T’s planned new network, passengers would gain the reliability they have long hoped for in the sky – for browsing the Internet, checking email, keeping in touch with friends and family through social networking and messaging services, and increasing business productivity,” the company says.

“Everyone wants access to high-speed, reliable mobile Internet wherever they are, including at 35,000 feet,” said John Stankey, Chief Strategy Officer at AT&T. “We are building on AT&T’s significant strengths to develop in-flight connectivity technology unlike any other that exists today, based on 4G LTE standards. We believe this will enable airlines and passengers to benefit from reliable high speeds and a better experience.”

It’s obviously too early to talk about how much this will cost customers, but AT&T’s target is clear: in-flight WiFi service Gogo, which uses air-to-ground cell towers in the United States and Canada to get 3G-speed Internet into the clouds.

Can Gogo compete with Ma Bell? Wall Street doesn’t seem to think so. Gogo’s stock price is down almost 20% since AT&T’s announcement.

  • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

    When are we going to have internet access on planes that isn’t pay per use? That would be real magic.

  • duncanator

    I can’t even get LTE in my house, and yet they are putting it in aircraft. If it weren’t for the microcell, I’d have mo cellular phone service. No, I don’t live in a rural area, unless you consider a region of 2 million people “rural”.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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