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Europe puts an end to "airplane mode", phones will also be used during flights
Before a flight, passengers on an airplane are advised to switch off or put their phones in "airplane mode". But that won't happen anytime soon. Instead, the specific frequencies of the new 5G network will be determined by the European Commission so that cellphones can stay powered up during flight. According to the European Commission, the ruling will allow airlines to allow customers to make and receive calls and text messages and use phones as they would on the ground. The service will be provided using a specialized network device that connects the aircraft network to the ground via a satellite.
"The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to the possibilities offered by super-fast and high-capacity connectivity, " Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said in a statement.
According to the European Commission's latest update on in-flight communication, which identifies specific 5G frequencies for user communication, airlines can offer the latest 5G technology on their planes.
Currently, laws mandate that passengers turn off or put their phones in "airplane mode" before take-off and for the duration of the flight. The procedure is a safety precaution to prevent disruption of the aircraft's electrical and communication systems. Only through an internal Wi-Fi network provided by the airline provider, usually as a paid service, is it possible to connect to the Internet using wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The European Commission will now allow the use of a specific frequency range for 5G, ensuring that it does not interfere with any of the electrical equipment on the plane, so that the traveler always has his phone on. However, the network will only work in favorable weather and at low altitudes."5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies".
Although passengers can use their phones on the plane, the service will not be free. Since this may require connecting to networks from different countries, resulting in roaming charges, mobile phone providers and airlines will charge a premium price. In addition, airlines will have to spend a lot of money on the equipment needed to connect land-based mobile networks to aircraft.
The deadline for member states to make 5G technology available to aircraft is June 30, 2023.