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

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?