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Gogo, which powers much of the inflight Wi-Fi enjoyed today, has its eyes on a faster future. The connectivity provider today announced plans to build a 5G network for aviation to bolster its air-to-ground services. Of note, this is separate from Gogo’s satellite-based (Ku and 2Ku) efforts.

As mobile providers move beyond LTE, Gogo is actively looking to latch onto those efforts. Per a company release, the new air-to-ground network will be “designed for use on business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and smaller mainline jets operating within the contiguous United States and Canada.” If all goes well, it’ll be available for use in 2021.

Air France Boeing 777 Business Class laptop working
Starting in 2021, Gogo’s air-to-ground network will be much faster than it is today (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo, said: “We expect to launch Gogo 5G at the same time as the terrestrial telecommunications companies are deploying the same generation of technology on the ground.” Gogo will build the 5G network on its existing infrastructure of more than 250 towers and will use unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz range.

Just as wireless carriers provide redundancy across their networks, Gogo will continue to employ its 3G and 4G networks throughout the continental US and in Canada as backup to the 5G network when needed.

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Ideally, fewer and fewer commercial flights will lean on air-to-ground connectivity, as satellite-based alternatives are far faster. However, for regional flights and smaller mainline jets, business travelers will no doubt take any additional bandwidth they can get.

Featured image by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

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