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Row 44 teams with Hughes on satellite coverage

US-based Global Eagle Entertainment Inc´s (NASDAQ: ENT) Row 44 in-flight connectivity subsidiary and US statellite operator EchoStar Corp´s (NASDAQ: SATS) US Hughes Network Systems unit said that satellite coverage to connect airline passengers on Row 44 WiFi-equipped flights has expanded further across Europe, within Russia and for the first-time, connects North America and Europe with North Atlantic coverage.

Row 44 and Hughes said they have entered into three large, multi-year contracts, which include the provision of space segment, Network Operations Center operations, maintenance and other ancillary services. The agreement includes significant capacity increases to Row 44´s leased bandwidth, which now supports customers on four continents.

California-based Row 44, a provider of satellite-based inflight WiFi and device-based entertainment for airlines around the world, also said that it completed its first installation aboard one of Iceland-based carrier´s Icelandair Boeing (NYSE: BA) 757 with more installations to continue through the remaining 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013.

Installations of the Row 44 connectivity platform now exceed 500 aircraft on four continents, the firm said.

Recent additions beyond the expansion of the domestic capacity to the Row 44 fleet include leasing transponders on IS905 for Europe and Yamal 300k for Russia, which are both active currently, and on two beams of SES 6 for the North Atlantic, which are scheduled to activate in October.

Row 44 operates its inflight connectivity service with a network of Ku-band satellites over which Hughes provides high-quality ground systems operations. In addition to delivering consistent, universal coverage for WiFi connectivity, Ku-band is also the only broadband technology, whether satellite or air-to-ground, that can cost-effectively deliver live television programming to all aircraft in a large continental region.

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