Airtel, Sprint, Delta, Airbus form in-flight broadband alliance

Indian operator Bharti Airtel, aircraft maker Airbus, US airline Delta and US operator Sprint were among the founding members of a new platform intended to pave the way for easier in-flight telecom connectivity.

The alliance, which also includes satellite broadband operator OneWeb and in-flight connectivity specialist GoGo, plans to bring more companies onboard.

The aim of the ‘Seamless Alliance’ is to provide high speed, low latency connectivity in flight using satellites.

“With the launch of our first production satellites set for later this year, we’re one step closer to bridging the global Digital Divide on land and in the air,” said Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb.

The alliance intends to reduce the costs and hurdles of in-flight connectivity by “streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing,” Airtel said.

“Over 370 million mobile customers across Airtel’s global network will be able to enjoy uninterrupted access to high speed data services even while they are in-flight. We look forward to collaborating with all partner members to ensure this platform goes live at the earliest,” said Airtel’s South Asia head Gopal Vittal.

The platform will “significantly reduce costs” for everyone involved while creating a smooth, positive user-experience, the alliance announced at the occasion of its formation in Barcelona.

“With our 5G network rolling out next year we’re investing heavily to make sure our customers have the best mobile Internet experience possible,” said Dow Draper, Chief Commercial Officer, Sprint.