European information technology giant SITA predicts that by 2005 airline passengers will be able to make calls in flight using their personal cellphones.
Cordless cabin telephony with global connectivity at an affordable price is the promise of Belgium’s Orb’Phone, a division of Euro GSM.
Arinc and Norway telecommunications company Telenor have successfully completed ground testing of technology that lets passengers continue talking on their personal wireless phones after takeoff. The companies demonstrated the satellite-based concept at last month’s World Airline Entertainment Association conference, held September 20 to 24 in Seattle, and are holding talks with a number of airlines.
European authorities apparently do not share the qualms the Federal Communications Commission and FAA have about the in-flight use of personal cellphones. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir Services for use on the Airbus A318.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to keep in place the rule requiring passengers in the U.S. to turn off cellphones before takeoff. But the ruling might not be enough to end the debate thanks to new mobile telephone technology that is designed to circumvent traditional cellular ground networks.
Will passengers flying on business jets and airliners really ever be able to use their personal cellphones to make and receive calls in flight?
Lingering uncertainty about whether cellphone calls placed by airline passengers would cause interference with the cell system on the ground has prompted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to drop a longstanding proposal to relax the current ban.
As most of its customers know by now, AirCell no longer actively markets airborne cellular systems, mainly because new digital cellular technology is rendering much of its existing analog-based ground network obsolete–but that doesn’t mean the AirCell name is a misnomer.
Aircraft passengers should be able to use their own cellphones in flight safely and conveniently before the end of this year through a new service developed jointly by satellite operator Inmarsat, aircraft communication systems specialist Arinc and mobile telephone service provider Telenor.
Sweden’s Ericsson yesterday launched an airborne GSM base station intended to enable passengers to use their cellphones on board aircraft. Commercial availability is scheduled for the end of this year and the vendor is in “very detailed discussions” with some existing operators, said Christian Jansson, senior specialist for high-capacity networks.