Passengers on European Union (EU) airlines will soon be able to make full use of their phones while flying
The European Commission has decided that airlines could offer both 5G technology and slower mobile broadband on board aircraft. Although it is not clear exactly how it will be implemented. Once in operation, this could mean that passengers will no longer need to put their mobile phones in airplane mode.
Brussels has ruled that the member states must make the 5G frequency bands accessible to aircraft by 30 June 2023.
The new ruling means that people will be able to use all their phone’s features in mid-flight. Passengers will be able to make calls as well as use high-data-consuming apps that stream music and video.
EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said the plan would “enable innovative services for people” and help European companies grow.
“The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” he said.
Since 2008, the EU Commission has set aside specific frequency channels for use by aircraft. This has enabled some providers to provide internet connectivity while in the air.
However, this service has historically been slow. This is because it relied on technology to connect individuals via a satellite between an airplane and the ground,
With 5G’s much faster download speed, the new system will be able to download a movie in just a few minutes.
Explainer: What is Airplane Mode?
Airplane mode is a mobile setting that switches off your phone’s connection to cellular and Wi-Fi networks. You can’t make phone calls, you can’t text friends, and you can’t use social media during your flight.