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Goodbye to airplane mode? Some countries may allow phone calls during flights


Airline passengers flying in the European Union will soon say goodbye to airplane mode and could even make phone calls from the sky.

The European Commission ruled in late November that it allows airlines to provide the latest 5G technology on planes, alongside previous generations of mobile technology.

“Since 2008, the Commission’s implementing decision has reserved certain frequencies for mobile communications on aircraft, allowing airlines to provide messaging, phone calls and data services to passengers flying in the EU. This update of The Commission’s implementing decision on mobile communications on board aircraft paves the way for the widespread deployment of 5G services,” it said in a statement.

The executive of the European Union he said mobile phones could be used to the “maximum of their capabilities and features”.

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European Union flags fly in front of the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on September 28, 2022.
(Reuters/Yves Herman//File photo)

“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European businesses. The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to the possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market. .

The statement said that the deployment of 5G services would be provided inside the cabin of an aircraft equipped using special network equipment, a so-called “picocell”, to connect users and route calls, text messages and data, usually to through a satellite network. , between the aircraft and the land mobile network.

The deadline for member states to make 5G technology available on aircraft is June 30, 2023.

Details of how this would be implemented remain unclear.

While the previous service was reportedly slow, according to the BBC, the new system would take advantage of the faster download speeds provided by 5G.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton speaks at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, on September 19, 2022.

European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton speaks at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, on September 19, 2022.
(Reuters/Yves Hermann)

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Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, told the outlet that steps would be taken to ensure that whatever is done is done safely.

“There is much less chance of interference,” he said. “We have a different set of frequencies for 5G, and there are lower power settings than what has been allowed in the US.”

EasyJet Airbus A320 at Vaclav Havel airport in Prague, Czech Republic, July 1, 2015.

EasyJet Airbus A320 at Vaclav Havel airport in Prague, Czech Republic, July 1, 2015.
(iStock)

In addition, the European Commission also modified an implementation decision on 5G frequency bands, which makes the bands available for Wi-Fi in road transport,

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In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration will reportedly continue to regulate the use of airplane mode for passengers, the agency told USA Today.

Fears that 5G antennas on the ground would interfere with aircraft equipment led to flight cancellations earlier this year.



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