EAN satellite tested and ready for commercial operation
Fast broadband inflight access for airlines and their passengers
British Airways is the first commercial customer
The European Aviation Network (EAN), the first integrated S-band satellite and complementary LTE-based terrestrial network built for Europe is ready for commercial operation. Together with their technology partner Nokia, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Inmarsat have completed the last technological milestone in the development of this network by testing the Inmarsat satellite, which was put into operation in September 2017. British Airways will be among the first customers of the new service.
The ground component of the EAN network is composed of approximately 300 base stations installed across all 28 member states of the European Union as well as in Switzerland and Norway. As part of this network, T-Mobile Czech Republic installed and put into operation four base stations necessary to cover the territory of the Czech Republic and its immediate surroundings.
“EAN is a ground-breaking and innovative European project. It will now provide seamless high-speed onboard connectivity to airline passengers at speeds to the aircraft that could exceed 75 Mbps, as airlines using the service do not have to share network capacity with any non-aviation customers,” says Milan Hába, New Business Development Director at T-Mobile, who is in charge of the Czech part of the EAN project within the DT Group. The integrated LTE ground network is fully scalable to meet passengers’ increasing demand for higher inflight connectivity speeds in the future.
The service has been trialled during several flights during which the functioning of the integrated satellite and LTE ground network was tested. The test flights have confirmed that EAN meets its designed performance parameters in practice, operating with unprecedentedly low latency of less than 100 ms. Moreover, the small and lightweight EAN equipment can be installed on aircraft quickly and easily.
Airlines will be able to offer the “internet in the sky” commercially to their passengers from the first half of this year. International Airlines Group, which includes such airline brands as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the first to offer this new service to its customers and has already commenced installations of EAN equipment on its planes.
Photos to download.