As travelers return to airline travel at a rate resembling pre-pandemic numbers, AT&T is expanding the availability of its millimeter-wave-based “5G+” service at major U.S. airports, with Boingo as its partner.
AT&T deployed its first 5G+ at an airport, Tampa International, in January of this year. Now the carrier is set to turn up mmWave at seven major U.S. airports this year and plans to reach 25 by the end of next year. The specific airports that the carrier has mentioned in its initial plans include New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports, as well as Chicago O’Hare International and Midway International airports, Dallas Love Field Airport, Los Angeles Airport and Denver International Airport.
The carrier said that it will focus on providing 5G+ coverage at “major gate and concession spaces, where travelers and airport employees have the greatest need.”
“The connected airport of the future is here, and passengers are looking for a seamless, secure, touchless experience with powerful, fast wireless connectivity throughout their entire journey. In addition, 5G’s speed and capacity enables airports to transform business operations for greater cost savings and efficiencies,” said Mike Finley, CEO of Boingo, who added, “This widescale 5G deployment has the ability to spark airport innovation at every level and reimagine the travel experience.”
In a statement, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee cited the “ample speed and bandwidth for travelers to download movies, work remotely, and tap into all the perks of their mobile devices” as part of an “improved and convenient travel experience” for travelers at Chicago’s major airports.
AT&T also recently struck a deal with Apple and Delta Airlines, in which Delta will equip its more than 19,000 flight attendants with 5G-capable iPhone 12s. The partners said that the widespread use of 5G across Delta’s workforce “could mean unleashing the potential of augmented reality to shape the future of air travel and the passenger experience,” offering up examples such as the ability to more quickly and accurately check in-cabin inventory using AR, or immersive training using AR.
AT&T is also deploying its mmWave 5G+ service in parts of dozens of cities, and in large public venues in a dozen states.