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AT&T Scraps Plans For 4G LTE On Flights To Focus On International And Video Investments

November 10, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

In-flight WiFi usage is something that we can continue hoping will be a mainstay on the majority of airlines going to and from just about any location, as it stands right now it seems like it’s more few and far between. Various airlines use in-flight WiFi through GoGo, which T-Mobile themselves have entered into a partnership with to offer passengers some limited wireless services like free in-flight texting. AT&T was slated for a similar type of service themselves, but it appears that they have done a 180 on those plans and have decided that in-flight 4G LTE connectivity usage is something just isn’t in the cards for them right now, which is sad because we’re sure that there were plenty of AT&T customers who were happy to hear about the initial plans to have this available.

AT&T cites the reasons as trying to put more of their focus and efforts into what they’re calling “transformative investments,” using the recent announcement to acquire Mexican telecom company Lusacell as an example. AT&T’s decision to focus efforts on things like International and Video investments doesn’t mean necessarily that 4G LTE connectivity capabilities in the air will never happen, but it most likely means if it ever comes back up, it will be no time in the immediate future. This also doesn’t completely hamper AT&T customers from using data services on every flight, as we stated above that some airlines offer in flight WiFi usage which would allow passengers to browse the web, send messages through any number of messaging apps and do plenty of other data related activities. The only issue with some of those services is that they can be quite costly, especially when probably compared to something that AT&T would have cooked up, and not all flights offer a WiFi service.

It comes as a tad bit of a shock that AT&T is now backing off of this endeavor, but then again it almost makes sense as the deal with Lusacell is probably a huge undertaking and will end up requiring a lot of their time and effort and investment capital. Do you wish you had 4G LTE connectivity on flights? Or are you OK with being disconnected for that small amount of time that you’re traveling through the air from one place to another?