Apr 29 2014, 1:51pm CDT | by Forbes
There’s competition at 35,000 feet.
Until now, Gogo has been the dominant name in airplane WiFi — the main player in an burgeoning (if often frustratingly slow) space. But now it has some major competition from AT&T and Honeywell, two tech giants with a combined market capitalization more than 200 times that of Gogo.
AT&T and Honeywell announced that their service, built around 4G LTE in-flight connectivity, is expected to be available “as soon as late 2015.” Gogo’s service, based on similar technology, is in use on about 80 percent of wired commercial aircraft in the U.S.
“Everyone wants access to high-speed, reliable mobile Internet wherever they are, including at 35,000 feet,” AT&T Chief Strategy Officer John Stankey said in a statement. “We are building on AT&T’s significant strengths to develop in-flight connectivity technology unlike any other that exists today, based on 4G LTE standards. We believe this will enable airlines and passengers to benefit from reliable high speeds and a better experience. We expect this service to transform connectivity in the aviation industry – we are truly mobilizing the sky.”
With no rival product launch imminent, Gogo still has a massive head start on the formidable pair, but investors are nervous that the smaller company won’t be able to win the war long term. Shares plunged nearly 25% on Tuesday following the news, falling under $14 per share for the first time since last October. Gogo went public in July 2013.
AT&T and Honeywell shares were both up slightly in trading.
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