The first seven towers of Gogo‘s new 5G air-to-ground network are now online. The company announced the successful activation of its testbed as “on schedule, and on budget” as of the end of 2021.
We’ll now begin testing and finetuning our network performance, including tower-to-tower handoffs, range, and coverage.
With the first towers online the company can validate the on-aircraft performance of the solution. The locations of the initial towers allows for testing over a broad geography and range of conditions. The test tower network activation comes six months after the first tower officially activated and test flights commenced.
Mike Rupert, VP of Network Operations, highlights the inclusion of both remote and urban areas “to validate the network is operating as designed in all types of environments.”
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The company plans to quickly expand the Gogo 5G network from these seven towers to approximately 150 across the country in the first half of 2022. With the nationwide coverage footprint in place Gogo expects to be in position to activate the system for customers in the back half of the year.
Gogo continues to work with partners on the certification of the required aircraft terminals to support the Gogo 5G network upgrade. This includes a deal announced last November with Duncan Aviation to develop STC-based installations on 30 different aircraft types. The company also announced fleet operator Jet Edge as launch customer for the platform, committing to 50 aircraft upgrades.
Expected commercial availability of the upgraded will trail that of upstart competitor SmartSky, but not by as much as the latter initially hoped. SmartSky’s high-speed connectivity solution expects to reach nationwide coverage in the coming months. It officially activated for customer operations in October, but full CONUS coverage is not expected until late Q1 or early Q2 of 2022.
More Next Gen ATG News:
- SkyFive, Pivotel plane air-to-ground connectivity trial in Australia
- SmartSky announces ATG availability for regional airlines
- Making the Business (Aviation) case for LEO at Gogo
- Gogo boasts 25 Mbps per plane (or more!) for new 5G network
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