Gogo has been offering in-flight WiFi service on thousands of airplanes for years. Now the company is introducing a new service that will eventually let you make phone calls and send text messages using your smartphone while you’re in the air.
I wonder if this will prompt airlines to follow the example of Amtrak, and introduce a “quiet car” section.
CNET reports the new Gogo talk and text service will begin rolling out in early 2014. Pricing hasn’t yet been determined.
While air passengers can use wireless devices throughout a flight now (as long as they’re flying on an airline that meets FAA guidelines), the FAA still insists phones should be used in “airplane mode,” which means passengers can’t make calls or send messages over a cellular network.
Gogo’s solution is to connect the company’s in-flight WiFi network to towers on the ground so that phone calls and SMS messages are routed through the airplane’s WiFi.
According to CNET, text messaging already works pretty well while voice quality can vary depending on the strength of your in-flight WiFi signal.
Gogo will support Android and iPhone users at launch, with possible support for other mobile platforms to follow.