Gogo is the leading provider of in-flight Wi-Fi service when you're traveling by plane, but depending on how many people are saturating the connection, you may have found speed to be less than ideal. Get ready for an upgrade. Gogo today announced a new service called Gogo GTO, or Ground to Orbit, which is a proprietary technology that will ultimately result in an increase in speed by more than six times the current performance.
Gogo, the guru of in-flight wireless Internet service, announced on Monday that it has hammered out an agreement to acquire the Airfone business unit from LiveTV, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways Corporation. The main attraction for Gogo is the 1MHz spectrum license that will change hands as a result of the transaction, as it's currently held by LiveTV. So, what are Gogo's plans for the 1MHz spectrum?
More and more fliers are joining the mile high Wi-Fi club, which isn't nearly as fun as that other club you can join from 5,280 feet or higher, but at least it won't get you in trouble with security personnel. Aircell's Gogo Inflight Internet service rules the skies, but rather than stand pat, Aircell has big plans for the future, including a next generation version of ATG (Air-to-Ground) known as ATG-4, and Ka-band satellite technology.
Google has a history of getting into the holiday spirit. Last year the search giant cut a deal with 47 U.S. airports to offer free Wi-Fi service, and this year Google Chrome is sponsoring in-flight Wi-Fi on select aircraft.
"This holiday season, Google Chrome has teamed up with AirTran Airways, Delta, and Virgin America to offer free Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi on every domestic flight from November 20, 2010 through January 2, 2011. These participating airlines have outfitted their entire domestic fleet with Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi, and we expect more connected passengers this holiday season than ever before!," Google announced.
It's really a win-win-win situation, with Google promoting its Chrome browser, select airlines getting a leg up on the competition, and holiday travelers able to stay connected as they take to the skies.
Samsung's Vibrant smartphone (part of the Galaxy S series) debuted on T-Mobile yesterday, finally giving T-Mobile subscribers an Android phone to legitimately be excited about. And if you're a frequent traveler, it gets even better -- Gogo is offering up to one month of free inflight Wi-Fi data access.
"As smartphones become more prevalent, we want to make it easier for those traveling to access their email and favorite websites as well as Twitter and Facebook," said Aircell President and CEO, Michael Small. "We want to provide the Vibrant customers with a seamless way to continue their mobile experience at 30,000 feet."
Gogo is available on nearly 1,000 commercial aircraft and over 3,500 daily flights in the Continental U.S., Gogo said. The free month of service is valid for one month from registration or until January 31, 2011, whichever comes first.
Alaska Airlines is taking Wi-Fi to the skies on six Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the company announced earlier this week. The Wi-Fi service comes courtesy of Aircell's Gogo inflight Internet and will be offered free of charge for the next couple of months by entering the promotional code ALASKAVISA.
"Through July 31, our customers traveling on Wi-Fi-equipped planes will be able to try out the new Gogo service at no cost, courtesy of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card," said Joe Sprague, Alaska's vice president of marketing.
Alaska Airlines said it plans to install Gogo on the company's entire fleet of 737-800s and -900s by the end of summer, with 737-400s and -700s to follow suit later this year.
T-Mobile's 3G coverage map might leave quite a bit to be desired, but hey, it's not all bad news for T-Mobile subscribers. For the next six months, Aircell is offering free Gogo Inflight Internet service to owners of T-Mobile USA's new HTC HD2 smartphone.
"Aircell is constantly striving to partner with companies that can enrich the inflight experience," said Aircell President and CEO Michael Smith. "With the newest smartphone from T-Mobile, we can provide our customers with a simple, yet powerful way to stay connected, even at 35,000 feet."
To access the service, HTC HD2 users need only select the Gogo Inflight Internet bookmark under the "Favorites" menu and register to kick off the free service period. The offer is valid for up to six months or until June 30, 2011, whichever comes first.
According to Aircell, 30 percent of visitors access the Gogo Inflight Portal from Wi-Fi enabled smartphones. Gogo is now available on more than 760 commercial aircraft and more than 2,600 daily flights in the U.S., with pricing starting at $4.95 per session.
Ever been stuck on a flight watching Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and wished you could whip out you’re laptop and download something else? Well Aircell, the founders of the largest in-flight Wi-Fi network are hoping that’s true, and are planning to launch a new video rental service later in the year to capitalize on that very idea.
Movies downloaded using the Aircell video service can be saved to any Windows PC and the renter has 24 hours to watch their purchase. The approach is similar to the iTunes model, but Aircell promises that the pricing will be competitive with Apple at $2 to $4 per TV show or movie, and presumably the file will be optimized for the limited bandwidth available in the air.
Surveys conducted by Aircell have suggested that a video on demand service would be popular with users who find most airlines entertainment options somewhat lacking. Unfortunately we still don't know if users will need to pay the $5-$13 Wi-Fi access fee in addition to the rental costs for the video, and clearly this will make or break it for most people. If you pay $10 for a 2 hour flight + $4 for a movie, that’s a $14 rental. It’s hard to imagine this would be the case, but you never know when it comes to the airlines these days.
Not all systems are go, but starting today, many of American Airlines' flights are Gogo equipped, the new service offering in-flight wireless internet access while traveling above the clouds. All 15 of American's Boeing 767-200 jets traveling from JFK airport in New York to destinations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami are up and running free of charge to passengers, with pricing set for $12.95 (flights over three hours) and $9.95 (flights under three hours) once the service officially launches in a couple of weeks. Using a version of EVDO Rev A technology, Gogo equipped jets will communicate with a network of 92 cell phone towers nationwide. If the rollout goes smoothly, American Airlines indicated it would expand the service throughout its fleet.