Talking at 35,000 Feet

Talking at 35,000 Feet

Cell phones on airplanes: the technology is ready, but the regulators aren't. Two services, one from Ericsson and the other from Connexion by Boeing, should be ready for in-flight cellular...

Guy Brighton
  • 16 june 2005

Cell phones on airplanes: the technology is ready, but the regulators aren’t. 

Two services, one from Ericsson and the other from Connexion by Boeing, should be ready for in-flight cellular service later this year, but there is still a lot of controversy around the service.

Issues include possible interference with the airplane’s communication & navigation systems, as well as increased terrorist concerns.  Others are preoccupied with the notion of having a plane full of people talking too loudly on their phones, and the disturbance to the rest of the passengers.  And finally, flight attendants are not interested in adding "cell phone police" to their job description.

Similar technology could also support WiFi and other data services in the future. 

Although there are still many concerns that must be resolved before this service will be launched, providers believe it will be available within 12 months.

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