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T-Mobile signs deal with Gogo, Verizon possibly next
Inflight connectivity continues to flounder due to average service, high prices and limited availability. With Gogo holding a near complete monopoly on inflight connectivity, AT&T has even been talking to the FCC about a 4G LTE-based inflight service.
Now, T-Mobile has agreed to an exclusive partnership with Gogo that will allow T-Mobile customers, at no charge, to send and receive text and picture messages as well as visual voicemail using their phone number over Gogo’s inflight system. If T-Mobile customers want to access this service, they will need to have their Wi-Fi Calling-enabled phone in airplane mode and connected to Gogo Wi-Fi.
As RunwayNetworkGirl notes, this is a low-bandwidth service, and therefore will not take up that much space from Gogo’s air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity pipe.
There are also rumors of Verizon and Gogo coming to an agreement once T-Mobile’s exclusive deal expires:
Interestingly, some industry observers believe a sponsorship agreement between Verizon and Gogo would also be compelling. “Verizon could agree to pay $20 million per year to sponsor Gogo for its customers, for instance,” noted satellite industry consultant Tim Farrar in a recent conversation. That might be less sexy to some than a JV or acquisition, but it’s logical. – RunwayGirlNetwork