Nov 09, 2013 09:58 AM EST
Gogo Announces In-Flight Calling and Texting Service, Could Be Ready by 2014
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The Talk and Text service is not yet available and will be in an upcoming iOS and Android app. Gogo expects to roll out the new service by the end of the year or in early 2014.
Calls and texts will be made through the app, but will use the user's phone's number so not to complicate things for those on the other end. Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo's chief marketing officer, said he believes the app will be more used for text messaging than calling.
"Gogo Text & Talk is just one more way Gogo is keeping airline passengers connected to their lives on the ground," he said in a press release. "While we see this as more of a text messaging product for commercial airlines in the United States, the phone functionality is something that some international air carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for."
Gogo offers Internet service through its app and offers users movies and other types of entertainment. Airlines that support Gogo include Air Canada, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, U.S. Airways and Virgin America.
Some of these partners will not be willing to adopt the phone calling service. Gogo blocks the use of Skype or any other service that allows a type of call being made and will also not launch its talk service for domestic flights.
Gogo does not need small cellular stations known picocells, but the app acts as an extension of a GSM or CDMA cellular network.
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"The great part about this technology is that it doesn't require us to install anything new to an aircraft and we can bundle it with or without connectivity," said ElDifrawi. "We have already launched the service with some of our business aviation customers and we are talking with our commercial airline partners about launching the service for their passengers."