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European Commission approves Mobile calls on airplanes

After the EC has agreed to have in-flight mobile service, it looks as if Brits will be the first to benefit from this newly-found liberty within a few months, if not weeks.

We could soon be overwhelmed with "I saw a flying saucer" voicemails as companies like BMI, Ryanair

Calls made in the European Airspace (that's 27 countries in all) will be allowed once the regulatory framework will be laid out.

Phone calls have been made possible through the introduction of Pico cells which are mini base stations that blanket cover the plane.

These can be switched off on lift off and landing and during turbulences.

The only limitation will be that the phone calls can only be made once the aircraft reaches 3,300 metres.

Viviane Reding, the EU Telecommunications Commissioner, stressed that the prices of calls and data transfer would be monitored but not limited; to prevent the repetition of price abuses that have plagued previous European call agreements.

She also said that the introduction of on-flight phone calls will be welcomed by businessmen who will also be able to send emails or visit on their laptops.
and Air France are rumoured to be preparing the structure to handle calls from airplanes.

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 ITProPortal.com 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.