T-Mobile wins preferred provider status with Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has chosen T-Mobile as its preferred wireless provider.

Under the new agreement, Alaska will go all-in on T-Mobile by migrating the majority of its mobility business, including data and voice lines, to T-Mobile’s network.

According to a press release, Alaska is looking to take advantage of the high-bandwidth, low latency capabilities of 5G to optimize every aspect of the customer experience – from ticketing to check-in, departures and arrivals, baggage tracking and more.

“As two Pacific Northwest-based companies, innovation is in our DNA,” said Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with T-Mobile to create a more seamless travel experience using T-Mobile’s next generation mobile solutions. The sky is the limit on what we will be able to create together for Alaska’s guests and employees.”

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T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said Alaska Airlines is a lot like T-Mobile in some really important ways. “Besides both being based in Seattle, Alaska and T-Mobile have a long history of challenging conventional thinking in our industries and pioneering new ways to use technological innovation to put customers first,” Sievert stated. “T-Mobile has always fixed customer pain points in the wireless industry, and it’s inspiring to help translate that to other industries with likeminded partners like Alaska.”

Besides what passengers will see on the planes, T-Mobile wants to offer Alaska the opportunity to explore more advanced offerings such as Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and private networking.

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A lot of data sharing happens in an airport – by way of baggage scanning as it moves on and off planes, ordering food and beverage services between flights and running plane diagnostics. That’s where services like MEC can be leveraged to process data locally.  

“Leveraging over-the-wing, under-the-wing, and gate applications through MEC could enable airlines to provide ground and flight crews with the information they need to speed aircraft turnaround times, resolve gate issues, and streamline operations to provide an even better passenger experience,” T-Mobile said in the press release.

The companies promise that T-Mobile customers will see more upside in the future. “As the new partnership reaches cruising altitude, Alaska and T-Mobile will focus on new capabilities, features, and perks specifically for passengers who use T-Mobile,” the release stated.