Alcatel-Lucent confirmed as Deutsche Telekom partner for LTE/satellite network

Alcatel-Lucent will be responsible for the deployment of the LTE technology for the planned European Aviation Network, confirming previous reports that the vendor was working with Deutsche Telekom on the ground network for the hybrid LTE/satellite network.

The German operator said in September it had joined forces with Inmarsat to provide in-flight broadband services for European airlines and passengers, with Lufthansa set to become the first airline to trial the LTE/satellite-based service in 2017.

The European Aviation Network aims to combine satellite connectivity from a new Inmarsat S-band satellite with a new LTE-based ground network run by Deutsche Telekom in the same frequency.

At the time of the announcement, Alcatel-Lucent was not explicitly named as the LTE equipment provider, although the company had previously revealed in November 2014 that it was jointly developing ground equipment for a Europe-wide aviation telecoms network of Inmarsat.

The Franco-U.S. vendor said it has now signed a contract with Deutsche Telekom to deliver the LTE ground network, which it said would communicate with aeroplanes and complement satellite services from Inmarsat. It added that it has previously conducted test flights of the LTE-based network with Deutsche Telekom, and will also provide network operations and field services for the LTE ground network to the German operator.

Wilhelm Dresselhaus, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Germany and head of the Deutsche Telekom sales account at Alcatel-Lucent, said the new network would remove one of the few remaining communications "black-outs".

"We are proud to be an integral technology provider for Deutsche Telekom's LTE-based ground network effort by adapting our LTE RAN solution to the Inmarsat S-band spectrum. Together, we are able to provide travellers in Europe with high-speed data connectivity in the air," he said.

Inmarsat also revealed that Cobham Satcom has signed an agreement to design and produce a mobile satellite services (MSS) terminal for the European Aviation Network.

For more:
- see the Alcatel-Lucent release
- see the Inmarsat release

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