Passengers could soon be using their mobile phones on planes flying
through European airspace.
Plans have been developed across EU countries to introduce technology
which permits mobile calls without risk of interference with aircraft
Regulators around Europe are calling for consultation on the
potential introduction of the technology.
If given the go ahead, the service would allow calls to be made when
a plane is more than 3,000 metres high.
Individual airlines would need to decide if they wanted to introduce
the technology, if the green light is given by national regulators.
The cost of making a mobile phone call from a plane will be higher
than making one from the ground. In the UK, regulator Ofcom said it
would investigate and address any evidence of "excessive charges and
abuses of competition" if prices were set unfairly by airlines and
The proposed system utilises an on-board base station in the plane
which communicates with passengers' own handsets. The base station -
called a pico cell - is low power and creates a network area big
enough to encompass the cabin of the plane.
The base station routes phone traffic to a satellite, which is in
turn connected to mobile networks on the ground.
A network control unit on the plane is used to ensure that mobiles in
the plane do not connect to any base stations on the ground. It
blocks the signal from the ground so that phones cannot connect and
remain in an idle state.
Calls will be billed through passengers' mobile networks.
Fairly easy for Europe with one cellular standard (GSM),
not so easy here in the USA.
Best regards, FAQ FOR CINGULAR WIRELESS:
John Navas <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cingular_Wireless_FAQ>