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AT&T's In-Flight WiFi Plans Won't Take Off

Dan Jones

With an acquisition in Mexico and plans to shrink its capex budget in 2015 already under its belt, AT&T shook up its strategy and investment plans further on Monday by scrapping a proposal to develop 4G-enabled in-flight broadband services. (See AT&T's Mexican Capex Dance.)

The operator has dropped its plans, first unveiled in April, to develop its own broadband connectivity service for airline staff and passengers using LTE connectivity. Aviation news site Runway Girl Network (RGN) reported Monday that those plans have failed to take off. (See AT&T Working On In-Flight LTE.)

"After a thorough review of our investment portfolio, the company decided to no longer pursue entry into the Inflight Connectivity industry," an AT&T spokesperson tells RGN. "We are focusing our capital on transformative investments, such as international and video."

Keep up with the latest in carrier WiFi on our dedicated channel here on Light Reading.

AT&T made a massive move towards international expansion Friday with its $2.5 billion move to acquire Mexican 3G operator Iusacell. (See AT&T to Buy Iusacell, Plans Lower Capex For 2015.)

AT&T had been planning to work with Honeywell and build out a service that connected to the planes and crew via LTE but delivered WiFi to passengers. It had been due to launch in late 2015.

AT&T would have been competing against established in-flight WiFi providers such as Gogo.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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11/11/2014 | 12:21:40 PM
Re: Only Marginal Profits
They don't actually own DirecTV yet. My bet is that they were looking at how long it would take to get this inflight service operational and decided that they had missed their window.
11/11/2014 | 11:32:36 AM
Re: Only Marginal Profits
I wonder what exactly is the technology they hoped to use to connect to the plane.   Now that AT&T owns DirecTV, at least for download, couldn't they use that satellite network for delivering the heavy use for most plane travellers -- watching streaming video.

11/10/2014 | 7:29:31 PM
Only Marginal Profits
When looking at where AT&T can invest capital, dropping in-flight wireless is likely a wise decision. Some other providers have already built market share, so the cost to develop and compete in this market was probably too high to make sense for AT&T.
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