By Anne Morris
Deutsche Telekom hailed progress in deploying in-flight broadband service the European Aviation Network (EAN), stating it had been activated on more than 265 aircraft three years after its initial commercial launches.
The operator developed EAN in partnership with Inmarsat and Nokia. It stated companies including International Airlines Group (IAG) members British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, along with Greek national carrier Aegean Airlines had deployed services on the network.
EAN was revealed in 2015 to provide Europe-wide connectivity.
Deutsche Telekom stated it had been installed on the entire British Airways short-haul fleet and is in the process of being rolled out to more aircraft operated by the other three carriers.
Although precise details of usage and revenue were not provided, the Germany-headquartered group noted that the service has so far been available to more than 50 million passengers on over 420,000 flights.
President of Inmarsat Aviation, Philippe Carette stated passenger usage of EAN services “is now higher than ever before”, as people return to air travel after two years of intermittent lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The EAN infrastructure comprises two distinct components: a dedicated satellite in operation since September 2017; and an LTE network deployed by Nokia and Deutsche Telekom on the ground comprising 300 base stations across all European Union member states, the UK, Switzerland and Norway.
US-based Viasat and French-headquartered Eutelsat launched various legal bids to block the EAN, with the former claiming the service is terrestrial rather than satellite and thus is a misuse of Inmarsat’s S-band spectrum licence.
The company since launched a US$7.3 billion takeover bid for Inmarsat, though this has reportedly drawn political scrutiny due to the role the latter plays in the UK space industry.