Ofcom clears in-flight mobile services for take off

Ofcom clears in-flight mobile services for take off

Summary: The telecoms regulator has approved tech enabling in-flight mobile-phone services on UK airlines, bringing calls from on high a step closer

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TOPICS: Mobility
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In-flight mobile phone calls may soon be a reality for travellers on UK airlines after telecoms regulator Ofcom gave its approval to the technology.

Calls will use the aircraft's network services and be routed via satellite to ground-based mobile networks.

The approved system will be useable once planes are more than three kilometres above ground level, so they don't interfere with ground-based mobile networks.

The service will initially work with 2G mobile spectrum but could be extended to 3G and other services if the initial scheme proves successful.

The news follows a consultation on Ofcom proposals published in October last year, and the regulator has worked with other EU countries to come to the decision.

In a statement, Ofcom said the safety of passengers is paramount, as a result of which no system will be fitted before the Civil Aviation Authority and European Aviation Safety Agency have also approved the technology.

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Ofcom will amend the aircraft operator licences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 to allow these services.

Emirates recently launched the world's first commercial in-flight mobile service, while BMI announced plans to trial mobile technology back in 2006.

Topic: Mobility

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