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No more airplane mode – EU to allow calls on flights

Soon, travellers on European Union (EU) airlines will be able to make full use of their phones while flying.

The European Commission decided that airlines could offer both 5G technology and slower mobile broadband on board aircraft.

Although it’s not obvious how it will be implemented, this could mean that passengers won’t need to put their phones on airplane mode anymore.

The member nations must make the 5G frequency bands accessible to aircraft by 30 June 2023.

As a result, users will be able to make calls and use data-intensive apps that stream music and video while in flight.

The proposal will “allow innovative services for people,” according to EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton, and aid in the expansion of European businesses.

When it comes to the opportunities provided by ultra-fast, high-capacity connectivity, the sky is no longer the limit, he declared.

The end of airplane mode?
Since 2008, the EU Commission has set aside specific frequency channels for use by aircraft, enabling some providers to provide internet connectivity while in the air.

However, because it relied on technology to connect individuals via a satellite between an airplane and the ground, this service has historically been slow.

With 5G’s far quicker download speeds—which, according to mobile network EE, can reach over 100Mbps—the new system will be able to download a movie in only a few minutes.

Due of a dearth of information about how mobile devices affect aircraft, Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, told the BBC that airplane mode was historically significant.

He stated that there was a worry that they would obstruct automatic flight control systems.

“Experience has shown that the possibility of interference is relatively low. It has always been advised to leave all electronic gadgets on airplane mode when in flight.

In the US, there has been worry that 5G frequencies might interfere with aircraft and perhaps result in inaccurate altitude readings.

But according to Mr. Whittingham, this is not a problem in the UK or the EU.

We have a separate set of frequencies for 5G, and there are lower power settings than those that have been permitted in the US, so there is considerably less chance of interference, he claimed.

“The general public who travels wants 5G. The authorities will allow for that possibility, but safety precautions will be made in whatever they do.

The use of mobile phones to make calls is prohibited on UK airlines unless the aircraft has been “equipped with an approved mobile phone control system,” according to Glenn Bradley, Head of Flight Operations at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the agency in charge of overseeing the safety of aircraft within the UK.

He said, “We are aware that plans to enable 5G onboard flights will operate in the higher frequency bands and as a result won’t interfere with aircraft systems.

We are prepared to collaborate with the business community to help bring about this innovation.

The use of mobile phones to make calls is prohibited on UK airlines unless the aircraft has been “equipped with an approved mobile phone control system,” according to Glenn Bradley, Head of Flight Operations at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the agency in charge of overseeing the safety of aircraft within the UK.

He stated, “We are aware that plans to enable 5G onboard planes would function in the higher frequency bands and as a result won’t interfere with aircraft equipment.

We are prepared to collaborate with the business community to help bring about this breakthrough.

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