Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Sky high calling

News today that the UK regulator Ofcom has approved the use of mobile phones on British registered aircraft when they reach an altitude of 3000 feet. bang goes peace and quiet in the air then.

It won't be happening overnight as both the Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency both need to give the technology their seals of approval. It will then be up to the individual airlines to decide whether they're going to install the kit.

The idea is that a base unit called Pico cells are installed in the aircraft which bounce the signal to a satellite which then transmits it to a satellite dish then to a switching unit and finally on to the receiving phone.

BBC news website reveals that:
The cost of making a mobile phone call from a plane will be higher than making one from the ground.
In the UK, regulator Ofcom said it would investigate and address any evidence of "excessive charges and abuses of competition" if prices were set unfairly by airlines and mobile networks.

The systems would only work in European airspace.

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