Wednesday, March 29, 2023

It's all about technology

Forget Airplane mode… European Union allows making calls on flights

Airline passengers in European Union will soon be able to fully use their phones in the sky, as European Commission has ruled that airlines can provide 5G technology on board planes, along with slower mobile data.

This means that travelers are no longer required to put their phones on airplane mode, although the details of how this will be implemented are not yet clear.

The deadline for member states to make 5G frequency bands available for aircraft is June 30, 2023. This means that people can use all the features of their phones during the flight, allowing calls to be made in addition to applications that contain a lot of data and that stream music and video.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for internal market affairs, said the plan would “make innovative services available to individuals” and help European companies grow.

“The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to the possibilities offered by high-speed, high-capacity connectivity,” he said.

The European Union Commission has allocated certain frequency bands to aircraft since 2008, allowing some services to offer Internet access in the air, but this service has been historically slow, as it relied on equipment to connect people via satellite between the aircraft and the ground.

As for the new system, it will be able to take advantage of the much faster download speeds provided by the fifth-generation network, which according to the mobile network can exceed EE 100 Mbps, allowing a movie to be downloaded in just a few minutes.

Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Aviation Safety Commission said that aircraft positioning is historically important due to a lack of knowledge about how mobile devices affect aircraft. What has been discovered through experience is that the risk of interference is very small. The recommendation has always been that Once you are on a flight, the devices should be in airplane mode.”

There has been a concern in the US that 5G frequencies could interfere with flights, possibly even leading to false altitude measurements.

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