Gogo adds voice calls, text messages to in-flight offerings

Airlines can still keep passengers from talking on the phone

Passengers in flight could make voice calls and exchange text messages using a new service from Gogo, but that doesn't mean your seatmate will necessarily be able to blab all through your next flight.

Gogo's Text & Talk service uses the company's in-flight Wi-Fi networks to carry text messages and voice calls from passengers' own Wi-Fi-equipped phones. Customers will be able to use it through free iOS and Android apps, Gogo said.

The company has already launched Text & Talk with some business aviation customers and is talking to commercial airlines about providing it for their passengers. It could be offered by itself or bundled with regular Gogo W-Fi, the company said.

For travelers worried about hearing one side of a conversation all the way from Los Angeles to New York, the introduction of Text & Talk isn't necessarily the end of the world. Airlines can still dictate whether passengers can make voice calls, and most U.S. airlines don't allow them despite the introduction of in-flight Wi-Fi and Internet-based voice services such as Skype.

"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 Chief Marketing Officer Ash ElDifrawi said in a press release.

Text & Talk is designed to make Gogo Wi-Fi an extension of carriers' cellular systems, allowing users to go onto the cabin network as if roaming onto another carrier's network, the company said. Travelers aren't allowed to connect with land-based cellular networks in flight because of safety and network concerns. Gogo's service uses Wi-Fi systems installed on planes with special cellular connections to Gogo's own towers on the ground.

Gogo's announcement comes just days after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration changed its rules to let passengers use electronic devices during takeoff and landing as long as they're in "airplane mode" and not using wireless networks. Under these rules, using phones for Text & Talk would still only be allowed at cruising altitude.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetindustry verticalstransportationInternet-based applications and servicesGogo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?