China's ZTE, along with Hainan Airlines, have successfully completed a test of air-to-ground (ATG) broadband communications using an FDD-LTE network on a commercial airline flight.
The test was conducted last month on a Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing to Xi'an, and in-flight Internet connectivity was available for 70 minutes of the two-hour flight. ZTE said engineers were able to conduct real-time video conferencing, instant messaging, microblogging, emailing, online gaming and online payments during the test. Downlink and uplink bandwidths were reported as stable and worked at speeds greater than 12 Mbps.
In 2011, ZTE initiated R&D for an LTE-based civil aviation ATG broadband communication system. "The system is designed to provide wireless broadband data transmission channels at a rate higher than 30-60 Mbps on planes flying at various altitudes," said ZTE.
The company said it expects to launch commercial LTE-based ATG systems on most Chinese airlines this year.
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