Google interested in Nokia aircraft connectivity tech - Mobile World Live

Google interested in Nokia aircraft connectivity tech

11 APR 2018

Google is reportedly in advanced discussions with Nokia about acquiring the Finnish vendor’s aircraft broadband system, which is designed to bolster in-flight Wi-Fi capabilities.

Bloomberg reported Google is interested in the unit as it looks to tap into new services and offer users a faster alternative to existing Wi-Fi on aeroplanes. A deal could be reached soon but, as ever, the deal could also fall through, added people familiar with the matter.

Nokia developed an LTE-based solution on the ground, which links to the skies and provides Wi-Fi connectivity in planes through satellite infrastructure.

The company has been developing its LTE air-to-ground solutions for six years now and has also partnered with satellite provider Inmarsat and operator Deutsche Telekom to bring its technology to a new European Aviation Network (EAN) which is set to commercially launch later this year.

EAN is designed to provide Europe-wide connectivity through a dedicated satellite and an LTE network on the ground.

For Google, acquiring Nokia’s services would give it chance to expand into what could potentially be a very lucrative market in the future. A study conducted by Inmarsat and the London School of Economics found demand for broadband internet from passengers was “exploding” and improved services had the potential to generate $8.2 billion for European airlines by 2035.

There is no indication as yet of how much Google will have to pay to acquire Nokia’s aircraft technology, but GoGo Inflight Internet, currently one of the biggest aeroplane Wi-Fi providers, has a market value of around $769 million.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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