GoGo, which puts WiFi on airplanes, is going to file an IPO in 2012 in hopes of raising $100 million to support growth according to TechCrunch. The IPO is a way for the investors to get some of their money back faster or to fuel growth.
While GoGo is seeing growth, it's currently using proven technology based up CDMA to connect to the Internet on the ground. If they can switch to LTE then the speeds will increase as will the capacity, but to date I have not seen any commentary on that.
GoGo also needs to pursue markets outside North America, where CDMA doesn't exist for the most part. To do that they will need to work with satelliet operators like ViaSat before LTE arrives globally, but global frequencies for LTE are far from standard.
Third, it's the intercontinental flights are where passengers are en masse who really need to connect given the lenghth of flight time. Panasonic and Lufthansa are rolling out their own version of in-flight WiFi currently on trans-Atlantic flights and their first mover advantage, and alliance program partnerships are driving roll-out.
The above hurdles aside, should GoGo and Panasonic/Lufthansa all find a way to play nice and roam between each other, then subsriber plans become more attractive and revenues become more predictable, much like cell phone companies. Already Boingo or iPass have figured out how to roam with GoGo, so that opportunity must be obvious as WiFi is the standard and how the signal gets to the ground really doesn't matter to the person in the seat. We just want it to work.
I hope GoGo makes this all work as the service is why over the past year almost all of my domestic flights have been on WiFi equipped planes.