Sprint said Monday that it is one of five initial members of the newly formed Seamless Air Alliance, which aims to develop in-flight 5G services.
Other members include Europe’s Airbus, U.S.-based Delta Airlines, India’s Bharti Airtel, and SoftBank-backed satellite startup OneWeb.
The group’s efforts will enable mobile operators to extend their mobile services into airline cabins via satellite technology, the companies said.
“What if the best internet you ever experienced was in the air? Keeping this goal in mind, together, we will enable an affordable and frictionless experience for passengers everywhere,” Greg Wyler, founder and executive chairman of OneWeb, said in a statement. “With the launch of our first production satellites set for later this year, we’re one step closer to bridging the global Digital Divide on land and in the air.”
According to the companies, streamlining system integration and certification and providing open specifications for interoperability will help eliminate large costs and hurdles usually associated with the acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure.
Sprint’s Chief Commercial Officer Dow Draper said Monday that the carrier’s 5G network will be rolled out next year.
“As an initial member of the Seamless Alliance, we’re looking forward to enabling customers to experience Sprint’s high-speed connectivity in the air, hassle-free,” Draper said.
Delta noted that its existing in-flight connectivity partner Gogo will also be joining the alliance.
Financial terms were not disclosed.