Growth of 5G in Inflight Connectivity

“Adoption of 5G in flights is expected to increase the revenue opportunities for online media content providers and telecom companies”

5G, the fifth generation of cellular mobile communication, has witnessed an increase in adoption during the end of 2018. The technology is expected to be in wide use by the first half of 2019 in a few developed countries across the world. Many telecom giants like Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have started to roll out 5G, mainly in experimental phase. AT&T has launched its 5G network in 12 US cities, including Atlanta and New Orleans. 5G offers several benefits over the previous cellular mobile generations like 4G and 3G with one major difference being the 20 Gb/s peak data rate and reduced latency (latency is the lag in time from between data sent and received).

5G connectivity will provide a better experience for commercial aircraft passengers and airlines. Ericsson and Panasonic Avionics have entered into a partnership to bring connectivity to the skies with 5G connectivity. The core of this 5G connectivity uses Network functions virtualization (NFV) and Software-defined networking (SDN) for enhancing scalability across networks. It will also provide more importance to network resource optimization, and better customer feedback for Panasonic Avionics. Another major strategic partnership is between Airbus and Delta Air Lines. Airbus and Delta Air Lines have formed an alliance with GoGo, and carrier Sprint and satellite startup OneWeb for developing inflight 5G services.


5G is expected bring major changes in inflight connectivity for many media content providers since higher data transfer speed could lead to growing demand for on-demand and live video streaming. Also, application developers and content providers like Netflix, HBO and Hulu find inflight entertainment business a great opportunity with high speed internet connectivity like 5G and Netflix has partnered with Routehappy, a rich content solutions provider for inflight video streaming. Increasing competition in the field could also lead developers and content providers to devise flexible plans and business models and customized solution for inflight entertainment.

– Arjun Das, 
Senior Research Analyst,
Infoholic Research