Upgrades coming to p.s. gogo system

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Wandering Aramean, Jul 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    United & gogo announced today that the p.s. fleet is going to receive an upgrade to the bandwidth available in-flight. The p.s. fleet will be receiving the ATG-4 system (EVDO-B) starting in early 2013; it will allow for up to 9.8 Mbit of speed to the aircraft, more than 3x the current top speed.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...4-in-air-connectivity-solution-163177256.html
    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewa...des-coming-to-uniteds-p-s-in-flight-internet/

    The big surprise here is that gogo is still in the mix at all. They'll be the third provider (Panasonic, LiveTV) that United will have on their planes. It also means that the odds of p.s. planes being used on certain TATL routes with higher C demand (oft-rumored) are dramatically lower as the ATG system won't work overseas.

    All in all, quite an interesting development.
     
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  2. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    Not sure it means anything about TATL for the p.s. aircraft. UA has shown they'll do any aircraft substitutions. Besides, all of their literature says none of the perks of a plane are guaranteed on any flight. If UA decides to market and sell international WiFi (like DL is about to do) it will come with a huge disclaimer that it's not guaranteed to be available on all flights or all markets. Means they can use a p.s. bird whenever they'd like :) Not saying that *will* happen...

    Thanks for the news on the upgraded throughput.

    -RM
     
  3. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    I am a little worried that UA will not be able to somehow allow us to purchase a monthly membership for all three in one reasonable monthly fee [~$40].

    I do not want to pay different payments to different providers every time I fly on UA. What if I am paying three different monthly internet bills, then one month it turns out almost all of my flying is on sUA birds. It is just too complicated and is a hassle for me to figure out which monthly membership I won't need that month, etc.

    Personally, I think this is a bad decision on UA's part. They should pick one provider and commit to that provider IMO.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Me, too.

    My understanding was that the reason gogo was going to not be used with the initial announcement was that UA wanted to control the customer, so to speak, in terms of providing a consistent connection experience. That would include billing and the logon interface. At that time gogo wasn't willing to cede that. Maybe that's changed. Or maybe not. Lots of open issues on this one right now.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    True, but I do believe that they're trying to get to a more stable point. That they're delaying aircraft retirements and accelerating some maintenance cycles to get planes into a more reliable state suggests to me that they are trying to get to a place where they can market and deliver the same thing. After all, the DoT's "unfair and deceptive marketing" clause can be quite broad. ;)
     
  6. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Is there a possibility that gogo might be able to bring their higher-bandwidth system to market faster than the Panasonic (or LiveTV) solution?
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Yes.

    Those planes almost certainly would have received the Panasonic system if they weren't keeping gogo; LiveTV is only going on the planes which have that for the IFE too. Panasonic has quite a number of customers signed up, something on the order of 1200 planes committed, looking for installs. Their most recent announcement on the manufacturing side was that the plant was coming online and they hope to be producing 50 kits monthly by early 2013. Do the math and you can see that they aren't going to be able to clear the backlog for a few years. I have no idea where UA is in the delivery sequence for that gear but there's no way they'd have them built, installed, certified by the FAA and converted in the immediate future.

    If I had to bet I'd say that the gogo contract was coming up for renewal and UA was hoping to have Panasonic ready to go in time to drop gogo. Instead Panasonic isn't ready so they had to choose between going dark or signing on with gogo again. They chose the latter and negotiated the ATG4 as part of it.
     
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  8. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    That makes a lot of sense. It goes without saying that I'd rather have disparate connectivity options than no connectivity at all.
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'm of two minds on this issue. Yes, connectivity is good. But having multiple different service options is annoying for customers. I get that they have to balance those two and ultimately this is probably the right choice, especially without knowing how long it will be until the Panasonic system is ready. But it still isn't great for passengers.
     
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  10. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    FWIW, I do know of several large dot-coms with Gogo corporate contracts for steep discounts. While I doubt this played much of a factor, it could be something worth considering.
     
  11. Golden Toque

    Golden Toque Gold Member

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    50 kits a month... Hilarious!

    Seems like kids in electronics club and a radio shack could crank out more than that!
     

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