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Google to buy Nokia’s aircraft broadband business

Google is thought to be in talks with Nokia to buy its plane broadband division as part of plans to develop an in-flight, high-speed internet service.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the American tech giant wants to tap into Nokia’s airborne broadband system to transform its own flight connectivity technology.

Sources with an understanding of the situation believe that the companies have reached an advanced stage of negotiations and could agree on a deal soon.

However, they have not reached a formal agreement yet, which means that the deal may not go ahead. Neither company has commented on the speculation.

Nokia has offered its LTE A2G cellular-based system for a few years. It creates an airborne internet connection by communicating with networks based on the ground, rather than a space satellite.

“The Nokia LTE A2G cellular-based system creates a direct link between the aircraft and the ground thereby eliminating the delay hop to a satellite,” writes Nokia on its website.

It claims that this approach “enables highly desirable in-cabin high-speed internet services using Wi-Fi for always-on passengers”.

The company also says that this system is more “effective” and affordable” than satellite-based systems while “improving passenger experience”.

Although Google has not developed a notable in-flight system, it is looking to change this. Currently, accessing internet on planes is difficult, but there is a clear business opportunity.

Gogo, for example, has built an entire business by offering in-flight internet services. Following the news of the potential deal between Google and Nokia, shares in the firm advanced by two per cent – giving it a valuation of  $769 million. 

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg reports, shares in Nokia increased by 1.2 per cent after the news hit the web – reaching €4.55 and a market capitalisation of €25.6 billion. Alphabet’s stock grew by 1.6 per cent, too. 

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