Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat edge closer to creating European airspace connectivity

By Johan De Mulder

Europe has moved a step closer to having reliable internet access across its airspace with the creation of the European Aviation Network (EAN).

German telco Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat, a British equivalent backed by Nokia, have a made a key technological advancement in the roll-out of their LTE-based terrestrial network.

300 base stations have been erected in 28 countries around the continent, creating the first Europe-wide LTE ground network and complementing Inmarsat's tried-and-tested EAN satellite, launched successfully last year.

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Airlines will have access to network, which will be exclusive to aviation customers, in the first half of this year after a number of tests were successfully performed.

The technology is set to transform the service available to flyers, who can expect a similar internet experience to what they would have on the ground, with the capability to stream high-bandwidth content.

"EAN is the world’s first dedicated aviation connectivity solution which effectively combines space and ground-based components, overcoming the traditional limitations of inflight internet," said Frederik van Essen, Senior Vice President at Inmarsat Aviation.

"Bringing connectivity to the skies is a complex effort and we could only realize this through strategic collaboration with our European partners."

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