Search giant Google is believed to be in advanced talks with telecommunications firm Nokia about purchasing its airplane broadband business under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella.
The move is a bid to tap into a new market and reach more users by offering them high-speed internet connections while flying.
The technology that Nokia possesses could combine with Google in order to offer travellers a faster, more reliable alternative to the current Wi-Fi services offered on board aeroplanes according to people close in the deal.
Talks are said to be in advanced stages and it is expected that a deal could be reached in the near future, although a final decision is not set in stone, so either Nokia or Alphabet could still decide against the deal and call it off.
The LTE A2G cellular system developed by Nokia creates direct links between both aircraft and ground control instead of relying on signals bouncing off different satellites. This enables high-speed internet services to be enabled in the cockpit.
In terms of consumer demand, fast onboard internet access has been something that travellers have been craving for years, and up until now, have had to deal with patchy services and weak bandwidth levels. Despite these levels of service, passengers have had to pay expensive fees to have any connectivity while onboard their flights. Therefore, this presents Google and Alphabet with a great chance to both correct this in a time where technology is advancing and becoming more prominent in people’s lives, as well as an opportunity to expand its product portfolio.
This deal could see existing providers of onboard internet services with new competition. Gogo, a Chicago-based enterprise is one of these providers, and when the news of this potential deal broke, its share price started to decline, whereas those of both Alphabet and Nokia began to rise.
While Nokia has been busy developing this in-flight broadband technology, it has been less of a priority that other projects it is working on such as 5G telecom equipment.
Google has been spending time looking into ways it can spread mobile connectivity over recent years, as strong internet services are crucial to its iconic search engine.
There is already plenty of competition in this industry as a number of different operators have been ready to introduce Wi-Fi system on planes for a while now. One of these systems has been developed by Inmarsat, a London-based firm that has built an in-flight communications system ready to go live later this summer.