Are You Ready for Gogo Transition to LTE Network?

Gogo will soon transition to an LTE network, causing classic ATG systems to become obsolete. How can owners and operators of affected aircraft upgrade ahead of time, and what are the incentives to do so? Matt Harris asked Gogo’s Dave Mellin...

Matt Harris  |  19th October 2023
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    Matt Harris
    Matt Harris

    Matt Harris is Commissioning Editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation...

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    Do you need to upgrade your private jet WIFI

    If you are the owner of an aircraft utilizing a classic Gogo ATG 8000, 5000, 4000, 2000 or 1000 system, it’s time to start planning an upgrade. In early 2026, Gogo Business Aviation expects to transition from the Gogo Biz network to the LTE network, making these older connectivity solutions obsolete.

    The recommended solution for owners and operators who will be impacted is an upgrade to AVANCE L5 or L3, Gogo says.

    While 2026 may seem a long way off, demand on MRO shops has been high for the past couple of years, and with approximately 3,000 jets operating with older ATG systems and requiring an upgrade in the coming months and years, pressure on shop slots is unlikely to ease anytime soon.

    Operators waiting until nearer the time will therefore run the risk of losing their old ATG service before they have received their upgrade.

    “We are encouraging all our customers with a classic ATG system to schedule their upgrade as soon as possible, and we’re offering incentives to help drive that activity,” Dave Mellin, Director of Public Relations and Communications explains.

    The incentives are being offered to customers who upgrade to AVANCE to make the upgrade as cost-effective as possible, Mellin explains. A $50,000 rebate for an upgrade to AVANCE L5 is being offered, and a $25,000 rebate is offered for an upgrade to AVANCE L3 (MAX and PLUS only).

    “The incentives won’t last forever and there will obviously be limitations on dealer availability across our dealer network, depending on when the request to get the upgrade done is made,” he warns.

    The Advantage of Upgrading to AVANCE

    There are several benefits of upgrading from a classic ATG system to AVANCE. Today’s AVANCE systems are designed to operate on the current Gogo Biz network and the future LTE network, and upgrading to AVANCE will also provide immediate and long-term benefits.

    “AVANCE L3, for example, will provide an improved experience over a Classic ATG system and that will be felt immediately,” Mellin notes. “Then, once the LTE network goes live, L3 customers will see a 40% performance boost, which will be significantly better.

    “Meanwhile, AVANCE L5 will provide three times better performance compared to a classic ATG system today, and an additional 10% improvement once the LTE network is live,” he adds. “Moreover, the L5 can easily be upgraded to connect with our cutting-edge Gogo 5G network once the hardware is available.”

    For those with the additional need, AVANCE systems are also easily upgradable to Gogo Galileo global broadband. And both AVANCE L3 and L5 come with significant added benefits, such as remote operational support, troubleshooting, diagnostics, over-the-air software updates, and Gogo’s leading in-flight entertainment service Gogo Vision.

    What Will the Upgrade Involve?

    With dozens of authorized Gogo dealers able to install AVANCE systems – including the largest MRO centers across North America – Gogo has built an extensive network of authorized dealers over the years.

    The downtime required for making the upgrade depends on what type of aircraft and which system the aircraft owner chooses to upgrade to. “For customers upgrading to AVANCE L3, we have some dealers who have reduced that installation time to as few as five days,” Mellin says.

    For upgrades to AVANCE L3, in most instances only the LRU will need to be replaced and that is often a simple box swap, along with some new cabling that may need to be run. In most instances, the two antennas on the belly of the aircraft will not need to be replaced (but they will need to be evaluated for each aircraft – some may need to be replaced).

    “For owners that upgrade to AVANCE L5, it can be done in as few as two weeks (in some instances) but may be longer depending on the aircraft and the MRO shop that is doing the work,” Mellin adds.

    This is because an upgrade to AVANCE L5 is more extensive than an upgrade to an L3, requiring a new LRU with a new mounting tray, new antennas on the belly of the aircraft, and new cabling. However, those upgrading to L5 can also provision their aircraft for 5G by installing the MB13 (5G) antennas.

    “Once 5G becomes available they will simply need to replace the L5 with an LX5 (the 5G LRU) which will be a simple box swap, every other aspect of the onboard system will be 5G ready,” Mellin says.

    Though the benefits are many and the upgrade incentivized, Mellin reiterates his earlier warning for owners of aircraft operating with classic ATG systems to act as soon as possible.

    “After all, nobody wants to have another ADS-B-like issue on their hands when we get to 2026. Back then slot-scheduling at MRO centers nationally became a major problem because too many operators waited too late to schedule their upgrade,” he concludes.

    “There should be no reason for anybody to lose connectivity because of this planned switch-over to the LTE network in 2026,” Mellin said. “This is a good thing and we’re doing everything we can to make the process as smooth as possible.”

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