Gogo Completes Nationwide 5G Ground Network

Livestream of a Gogo technician installing the last antenna of the final tower of Gogo Business Aviation’s nationwide 5G network.

Credit: Bill Carey/ShowNews

ORLANDO—Gogo Business Aviation has finished construction of the nationwide ground infrastructure of its 5G air-to-ground network.

During an evening event at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) conference Oct. 17, Gogo livestreamed video from a mountaintop in Oregon—some of it by drone—of a technician installing the last antenna on the final tower of its 150-tower network, which now covers the contiguous U.S. The company plans to expand the network into Canada next year.

“Our team was tenacious and overcame a host of issues including COVID-19, weather, the supply chain and geopolitical concerns, to build a new network of 150 towers nationwide—and they did it in less than 12 months,” said Gogo President and Chief Operating Officer Sergio Aguirre. “It’s remarkable what our network deployment and field operations teams have accomplished.” 

Duncan Aviation has completed a first-article supplemental type certification (STC) to install dual belly-mounted MB13 antennas and an X3 line replaceable unit (LRU) on a Cessna Citation 560XLS business jet. Gogo is working with business aircraft manufacturers and several authorized Gogo dealers to develop additional STCs that will cover 30 aircraft models.

Aircraft will require dual transmit/receive antennas—one looking forward and to the sides; the other looking backward and to the sides—for 5G reception. 

“The STC will be amended once the 5G chip becomes available, which is expected to occur in mid-2023,” Gogo said. “Customers who want Gogo 5G service can install the Avance L5 system with full 5G provisions (including the MB13 antennas) today and operate on Gogo’s 4G network until the X3 LRU is available. Once the X3 is ready, it can be installed quickly and 5G service can begin immediately, saving downtime and expenses.”

Gogo said the high-throughput, low-latency 5G system is expected to deliver 25 Mbps on average with peak speeds in the 75-80 Mbps range to address an increasing demand for data-heavy interactive services such as video conferencing, live television and gaming.

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, DC, Bill covers avionics, air traffic management and aviation safety for Aviation Week. A former daily newspaper reporter, he has covered the commercial, business and military aviation segments as well as unmanned aircraft systems. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2017, he worked for Aviation International News and Avionics and Rotor & Wing magazines.