When one provider held a near monopoly on inflight internet services across US airlines it was relatively easy for T-Mobile to negotiate a deal for its mobile subscribers to access the system. As airlines diversified their provider list and took over control of the billing systems that process became much more complicated. But not impossible. United Airlines will soon (re)join T-Mobile’s program for free inflight WiFi on board.
The program will allow access on domestic and international United Airlines flights. Adding in the longer-haul trips is also an upgrade to the offering. Typically it was limited to domestic flights, and to planes carrying the Gogo inflight connectivity solution. Now it will be available on United’s planes with connectivity provided by Viasat and Thales as well.
Somewhat ironically (as they are the only planes still connected to the legacy Gogo platform), the United Express fleet will not be part of the program initially. Less clear is if the planes will be brought into the Magenta T-Mobile program with the current connectivity kit on board, or if it will wait until the regional jets are updated to whichever platform is selected during the currently running RFP program.
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