In-Flight Mobile Use Proposed By Ofcom

In-Flight Mobile Use Proposed By OfcomThe plan is to allow planes to carry their own mobile micro-cell from about 2010 – as long as they don’t switch it on before they reach a height of 3,000 metres.

At least, that’s what Ofcom expects we’ll want as users; you have till 30 November to register your opinion.

Today’s announcement sets out proposals to enable airlines to offer mobile communication services on UK-registered aircraft, if they wish to do so. But it’s limited to established 2G phone networks; and only if the system is rolled out, and successful, will plans be unveiled for 3G networks.

This is hardly “leading edge” stuff. As Ofcom itself admits, “Australia has already issued a licence to operate in-flight mobile services. The earliest that services could be available from UK registered airlines is 2008, subject to approval by the aviation authorities.”

Now, the UK regulator wants to catch up: “One of Ofcom’s objectives is to create opportunities for companies to develop innovative technologies, in particular to make the most efficient use of the radio spectrum for the benefit of citizens and consumers,” says the official release.

However, it’s not just for the UK; eventually, it will be part of a Europe-wide plan, and “the installation of mobile systems on aircraft will only be allowed when approved by the relevant UK and European aviation authorities.”

The consultation, which closes on 30 November, can be found at:

Guy Kewney is editor is NewsWireless