CHARLOTTE, NC – 7 OCTOBER 2014 — Seasoned Wireless Executives Team with Radio Technology Expert Harris Corporation to Deliver Technological Innovation
SmartSky Networks, a next-generation aviation communications provider, is pleased to announce the launch of the nation’s first airborne 4G LTE-based network, SmartSky 4G. SmartSky’s technology will provide more than 10 times the typical speed and capacity of networks currently in the market by using 60 MHz of spectrum for its Air-To-Ground (ATG) data communications.
SmartSky 4G will serve both business aviation and the airlines beginning with an exclusive beta-customer trial launch in the continental United States in late 2015. The rollout of nationwide commercial service will follow in 2016. Because the system hardware design can work at multiple frequencies, SmartSky is positioned to expand internationally in the future and provide coverage in locations where different frequency bands might be required.
SmartSky will officially unveil its transformative ATG communications program at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Orlando, Fla., from Oct. 21-23, 2014, at booth number 2989. SmartSky is partnering with a leading group of airframe manufacturers, maintenance companies, and equipment and service providers to distribute SmartSky 4G to the business aviation community and will reveal these launch partners at NBAA2014. Similarly, the company is approaching the airline market through established distribution channels, including incumbent connectivity providers.
SmartSky is led by an experienced group of cellular veterans, wireless engineers, and aviation professionals. The company’s goal is to deliver airborne connectivity rivaling the robust experiences available in the office or at home. SmartSky Chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin, a cellular-industry pioneer and former Chairman of the CTIA, commented, “In the wireless world, whether on the ground or in the air, speed and capacity are the critical requirements for customer satisfaction. We recognized that the aviation industry was substantially underserved, and we started work over three years ago on our plan to offer full 4G capability to the aviation market.”
Reed Hundt, SmartSky Vice Chairman and former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said, “We are implementing an innovative use of wireless spectrum using cutting-edge antenna and communications technologies that does not require an FCC rules change or waiver. We believe this will be the most cost-effective, high-bandwidth national network ever built in the United States. Best of all, passengers will be able to use their own smartphones and tablets to browse the web from the airplanes we serve.”
The design of SmartSky’s patented infrastructure was led by its veteran telecommunications team, building on deep network and radio technology experience from senior positions at companies such as Sprint, Nextel and Vanguard Cellular. SmartSky also teamed with recognized leaders in the aerospace and technology industries, most notably Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), a leading international communications and information technology company headquartered in Melbourne, Fla. Harris has extensive experience in deploying advanced radio technology and networks for the space program as well as for military and civil aviation, including managing the FAA’s critical communications infrastructure.
Carl D’Alessandro, Vice President and General Manager, Civil Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems, stated, “Harris has a rich tradition of pushing the envelope in RF communications and advanced avionics technologies. Working with SmartSky’s engineering team, we adapted technologies previously used in military applications, leveraged our extensive patent portfolio, and applied innovative insights provided by SmartSky’s key aerospace partners to deliver a resilient solution that meets all design objectives. We are delighted to partner with the experienced team at SmartSky in transforming aviation communications.”
Last year the company filmed a live flight demonstration with multiple users on-board engaged in video conferences, streaming movies, sending and receiving large files, and other bandwidth-intensive activities all at the same time. “SmartSky 4G provides an experience that exceeds the current gold standard of network performance – it enables live, two-way, high-definition video conferencing. SmartSky 4G’s robust performance means that we can also support communications needs beyond cabin Wi-Fi, including many emerging operational applications,” said SmartSky President Ryan Stone.
About SmartSky Networks
SmartSky Networks, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., was formed in 2011 and is comprised of senior aviation and telecommunications executives seeking to leverage disruptive communications technologies to transform aviation. In conjunction with leading aerospace and technology partners, SmartSky plans to beta-launch its innovative Air-To-Ground network, SmartSky 4G, in late 2015, followed by the rollout of nationwide commercial service in 2016. More information can be found at www.smartskynetworks.com.