Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat partner to deliver European Aviation Network

  • World’s first combined LTE-based ground network and satellite network dedicated to aviation passenger connectivity in Europe
  • Customer experience similar to the comfort of high-speed broadband at home
  • Lufthansa will offer satellite-based connectivity on board European flights in 2016 and commits to flight test program for the European Aviation Network in 2017

Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat today announced a strategic partnership bringing unprecedented passenger connectivity to Europe’s aviation industry and its customers. A new innovative, combined LTE-based ground network and satellite network delivers travelers in Europe the advantage of in-flight high-speed Internet access when in the air. Airlines will benefit from a cost efficient and future-proof connectivity solution.

Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat are working together to develop the European Aviation Network seamlessly combining satellite connectivity from a new Inmarsat S-band satellite with an LTE-based ground network developed and run by Deutsche Telekom. Lufthansa will be the first European hub airline to capitalize on innovative connectivity services in the sky. In early summer 2016, Lufthansa will launch a state-of-the-art satellite-based broadband service on board its European flights, which is based on the recently launched technology provided by Inmarsat. Building on this strategic relationship, Lufthansa is committed to a flight trial program of the European Aviation Network from 2017 onwards.

“This bold step will make Deutsche Telekom the first telecommunications operator to take the advantages of LTE technology to the European airspace and fits perfectly into our strategy to become the leading European telco,” explains Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. “As a groundbreaking innovation we will roll out a powerful terrestrial network based on LTE within the European Aviation Network. This will be the first aviation connectivity network in Europe powered by both LTE and satellite combined! Our technology leadership provides a solid foundation for the best customer experience possible – be that on the ground or in the skies – and enables us to work with the finest partners in Europe and beyond.”

"With this integrated network we can meet the need for capacity, flexibility and quality of service, including the ability to expand quickly to anticipate growth in demand,” says Andy Sukawaty, Chairman of Inmarsat. “The integrated satellite and complementary LTE-based ground network will ensure that Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom together deliver the fastest, best and most consistent in-flight broadband experience that meets the needs of airlines in this region. Combined with our global GX (Ka-band) and L-band services, we now have connectivity solutions for the cockpit and the cabin of any type of aircraft, flying in any geography."

Lufthansa: Exploiting potential in European airspace
Europe’s airspace is one of the busiest in the world and still holds great potential. As a premium European airline, Lufthansa continues to look out for and implement innovative technologies to ensure future-proof, best-in-class service for its customers. “We are pleased to offer our passengers an outstanding Internet experience on board our short and medium haul flights already from 2016. This underlines once again that we are pioneers when it comes to digital services on board. Together with Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat, we are thinking further ahead. We want to engage in the development of next generation technology to further strengthen our innovative and leading role in this field,” says Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa. “We continue to strive for excellence when it comes to our passengers’ flying experience and the provision of reliable, consistent broadband connectivity aboard our planes, which will match that of high-speed home broadband in terms of speed and quality, is of extreme importance to us.”

The connectivity platforms developed by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have been designed specifically to meet the growing needs of passengers travelling across the high-traffic flight paths in Europe. They provide a long-term solution with abundant capacity, speed, and coverage to equal an at-home high-speed broadband customer experience while aboard an airplane.

A powerful combination
A first for Europe, the European Aviation Network consists of the Inmarsat S-band satellite, a state-of the-art platform, which will provide multi-beam pan-European coverage. The satellite is custom-designed to offer innovative mobile satellite services (MSS) to commercial and business airlines flying over the dense European routes, exploiting Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states.

It is combined on the ground with a new powerful mobile broadband network of approximately 300 LTE sites which Deutsche Telekom will build and manage. The LTE sites will have a range of more than 80 km (while conventional LTE sites have a range of 10 km or less), will be able to transmit data to the operating altitude of passenger planes, and are flexible enough to deal with the speed of a plane. Once the aircraft has reached 10,000ft, Deutsche Telekom’s ground network will be combined with the satellite connectivity. The switching between the satellite and the ground will be automatically managed by the cabin systems, creating no impact or interference with the service delivered on board.

Lufthansa will take part in a flight trial program of the new European Aviation Network from 2017 onwards.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.

About Inmarsat
Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat employs around 1,600 staff in more than 60 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centres of commerce on every continent. Inmarsat is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ISAT.L). For more information, please visit
The Inmarsat press release newsfeed and corporate updates are on @InmarsatGlobal.

About Lufthansa Group
The Lufthansa Group is a global aviation group with a total of around 540 subsidiaries and equity investments worldwide. The Lufthansa Group stands for quality and innovation, as well as for safety and reliability. The company is headquartered in Germany and is organized in four operating segments: Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, MRO, and Catering. All segments occupy a leading position in their respective markets. The Passenger Airline Group forms the company’s core business. Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, SWISS and Austrian Airlines are network carriers serving the global market and all passenger segments. Germanwings operates direct flights within Europe. Additionally, the company has interests in Brussels Airlines, JetBlue as well as in SunExpress. In 2014, the entire Group flew a total of 106 million passengers. Lufthansa, along with its Group members and Star Alliance partners, serves over 1,300 destinations worldwide.
The fleet encompasses round about 600 aircraft. By 2025, Lufthansa will receive 272 new aircraft worth about USD 46 billion in list prices on order. With these investments, Lufthansa improves its profitability and environmental friendliness on a constant level. The Lufthansa Group employs around 119,000 members of staff worldwide. In the 2014 business year, it returned revenues totaling 30 billion euros.
The Group is managed by an Executive Board comprising five members: Carsten Spohr, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, Karl Ulrich Garnadt, CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines, Simone Menne, Chief Financial Officer and Aviation Services, Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Corporate Human Resources and Legal Affairs, Harry Hohmeister, Chief Officer Group Airlines and Logistics. Further details are available at