Alcatel-Lucent has signed a contract with Deutsche Telekom to deliver the world’s first LTE ground network which communicates with airplanes and complements satellite services from Inmarsat, in order to meet rapidly evolving demand for broadband data connectivity on European flights.
The European Aviation Network (EAN) will consist of an LTE ground network component, provided by Alcatel-Lucent – using its specially adapted radios and IP mobile core – combined with a satellite network component.
Passengers will be able to use their Wi-Fi enabled personal mobile devices to enjoy mobile data access using the seamless transition between the LTE ground network and the satellite network. The network will also open up opportunities for airlines to offer innovative consumer-led data services to passengers.
Deutsche Telekom and Alcatel-Lucent have previously conducted test flights of the LTE-based network and are working with Inmarsat, the satellite communications provider, which will operate LTE in the S-band.
Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have recently announced a strategic partnership for the European Aviation Network to develop and commercially roll-out the network in Europe with a test flight programme planned for the hybrid LTE and satellite network in 2017.
Alcatel-Lucent will also provide network operations and field services for the LTE ground network to Deutsche Telekom. It will deploy its radio access network (RAN) technology using customised remote radio heads (RRHs) and the IP mobile core as well as network operations and field service support.
Wilhelm Dresselhaus, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Germany and Head of the Deutsche Telekom sales account at Alcatel-Lucent, said: “For years, flying has been a communications black-out leaving both business and personal travellers alike feeling out of touch when in the air.
“We are proud to be an integral technology provider for Deutsche Telekom’s LTE-based ground network effort by adapting our LTE RAN solution to the Inmarsat S-band spectrum. Together, we are able to provide travellers in Europe with high-speed data connectivity in the air.”