Posted: October 8, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent has signed a contract with Deutsche Telekom to deliver the world’s first LTE ground network which communicates with airplanes and complements satellite services from Inmarsat, in order to meet rapidly evolving demand for broadband data connectivity on European flights.

The European Aviation Network (EAN) will consist of an LTE ground network component, provided by Alcatel-Lucent – using its specially adapted radios and IP Mobile Core – combined with a satellite network component.

Passengers will be able to use their Wi-Fi® enabled personal mobile devices to enjoy mobile data access using the seamless transition between the LTE ground network and the satellite network. The network will also open up opportunities for airlines to offer innovative consumer-led data services to passengers.

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Deutsche Telekom and Alcatel-Lucent have previously conducted test flights of the LTE-based network and are working with Inmarsat, a leading global satellite communications provider, which will operate LTE in the S-band. Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have recently announced a strategic partnership for the European Aviation Network to develop and commercially roll-out the network in Europe with a test flight program planned for the hybrid LTE and satellite network in 2017.

Alcatel-Lucent will also provide network operations and field services for the LTE ground network to Deutsche Telekom. The agreement with Deutsche Telekom highlights how Alcatel-Lucent is working with service providers to deliver breakthrough communications innovations to new markets to satisfy the growing demand for always-on connectivity.

Key Facts:
  • Alcatel-Lucent is providing Deutsche Telekom with a complete LTE network for the provision of the first commercial hybrid LTE and satellite European network for airplane passengers – the first in the world to use LTE. Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its Radio Access Network (RAN) technology using customized remote radio heads (RRHs) and the IP Mobile Core as well as network operations and field service support.
  • The European Aviation Network will provide fast and easy-to-use services for passengers and airlines traveling across Europe.
  • Alcatel-Lucent and Deutsche Telekom entered into a research project in 2009, leading to the first test flight in 2011 when the companies have jointly tested LTE for use in air-to-ground networks and continue to shape the ecosystem.
  • Inmarsat, a global leader in satellite technology, announced a technology collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent in November 2014 to adapt Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE technology to support the S-Band spectrum.
  • Deutsche Telekom will be deploying the European Aviation Network together with Inmarsat.

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