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updated: 11/11/2013 11:15 AM

Gogo unveils in-flight text and talk technology

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In flight connectivity provider, Itasca-based Gogo has unveiled its new Text & Talk technology for commercial airline passengers.

The new technology uses Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi system to allow passengers to send text messages and make phone calls using their own smartphone much like they do on the ground.

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Passengers will be required to download an app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Using the app, they will be able to send and receive text messages in real time from 30,000 feet traveling in excess of 500 miles-per-hour.

"Gogo Text & Talk is just one more way Gogo is keeping airline passengers connected to their lives on the ground," said Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo's chief marketing officer. "While we see this as more of a text messaging product for commercial airlines in the United States, the phone functionality is something that some international air carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for."

Gogo's Text & Talk application serves as an extension of a GSM or CDMA cellular network, without the need to install picocells, which is a small cellular station that is often installed on planes to deliver similar services. This enables any smartphone user to roam onto Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi system as if they were roaming onto a land-based cellular network where they can continue to access their messaging and phone services anywhere a Gogo equipped aircraft flies.

"The great part about this technology is that it doesn't require us to install anything new to an aircraft and we can bundle it with or without connectivity," added ElDifrawi. "We have already launched the service with some of our business aviation customers and we are talking with our commercial airline partners about launching the service for their passengers."

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