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Gogo’s 5G plans slip to 2022

March 16, 2021

By Chris Forrester

In Flight Connectivity (IFC) specialist Gogo says it will not deploy its 5G network this year as originally planned and that availability will slip to 2022.

The news emerged during Gogo’s Q4 2020 financial statement. Revenues were $77.6 million for the quarter, up 17 per cent on Q3, but down some 10 per cent on Q4 2019.

Gogo is now an all-business aviation connectivity company. It sold its consumer aircraft business to Intelsat last year for $400 million. Gogo’s business division’s monthly Average Revenue per Aircraft grew 2 per cent from $2996 to $3069.

“We’re extremely pleased with the progress our team and our partners Cisco, Airspan, and FIRST RF have made on this project. However, as is true of many projects in the telecom and satellite space our schedule has slipped, primarily because of a supply chain delay for one particular microchip. And we now expect to deploy the network in 2022 instead of 2021,” CEO Oakley Thorne said.

Business jets, which are now the backbone of Gogo’s business, are increasingly fitted with Gogo’s Avance equipment which integrates a built-in smart router to handle cockpit data as well as passenger connectivity.

Thorne explained the Avance technology, saying: “It can aggregate multiple bearers or multiple networks into one channel, or SSID [Service Set IDentifier], if one wants to expand capacity for certain users on the airplane. It’s engineered to be extensible, easily supporting the addition of new products and features, which soon we’ll be able to load over the air,” Thorne said.

Gogo entered 2020 with 5,669 subscribers to its North American IFC network and finished the year increasing that number to 5,778. Gogo data consumption per flight through the first two months of the year was also 20 per cent above the average consumption that occurred during the same period a year ago.

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