Gogo, the company that provides in-flight WiFi to most U.S. airlines, now offers passengers the ability to send and receive text messages while in the air, on their own phones.
It's called the Gogo Text & Talk app, but customers on American commercial flights will not be calling anyone.
"The phone functionality is something that some international carriers and our business aviation customers are asking for," chief marketing officer Ash ElDifrawi said in a press release.
The technology uses a GSM or CDMA cellular network,and Gogo does not have to install any new equipment on the planes it serves. It works at 30,000 feet and above, and will be in commercial use in the first quarter of 2014. The service will not be included in the price of using Gogo WiFi, but a price has not yet been set.
Phil LeBeau of CNBC tested out the service today at a press event, and was impressed:
Just tested out @Gogo new "Text and Talk" service. Worked well,..great to be able to text with own phone while in flight.— Phil LeBeau (@Lebeaucarnews) November 8, 2013
Gogo provides WiFi to planes operated by AirTran, Virgin America, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, and others.
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