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World's First In-Flight Mobile Phone Service coming soon

MACH and AeroMobile are to partner to support the deployment of the world's first in-flight mobile service, bringing MACH's expertise in financial and data clearing services and AeroMobile together in this venture to bring mobile roaming to the skies.

Emirates, one of the world's largest airlines with a state of the art fleet of aircraft, will be the first carrier to introduce the service.

AeroMobile's system works by installing a very low-powered base station on the aircraft to receive and transmit voice and data. The calls are linked to the ground using a satellite communications system installed on the plane.

Callers will be able to use the aircraft system if their mobile provider has a roaming agreement with AeroMobile. Once the aircraft is airborne and has reached the required altitude, passengers can simply switch their mobile phone on to take advantage of this innovative system.

Roaming in the air requires compliance with various legal and governmental regulations in countries over which the aircrafts fly, but it is also dependent on agreements with numerous mobile operators to accommodate the passengers' particular subscription.

AeroMobile chose to outsource the data and financial clearing and settlement with its network of roaming partners to MACH. This year, the company has already signed a number of roaming partnerships using MACH's services.

AeroMobile's service will allow mobile users to stay in touch with family, friends or colleagues using voice and text messaging. The cabin crew can also control the system and select operating modes which can be especially useful for overnight flights when the text only operation mode can be used to ensure the privacy of passengers.

The system on the aircraft controls the power output of all mobile phones down to a minimum level allowing their safe use on board the plane. The technology has been designed to be fully compliant with airworthiness requirements and ground telecommunications regulations.

AeroMobile is also in talks with a number of other major airlines to extend the service to passengers across the world.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.