November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Passengers will be permitted to receive and make in-flight calls on mobile phones under new rules from the Commission.
Following months of regulatory consultation, plus testing in countries including France and Australia, a number of telecom operators and airlines are planning to offer the service this year.
The Commission has set out technical requirements for the use of mobiles once aircraft are flying, but the European Aviation Safety Agency will still need to approve the on-board equipment which makes this possible.
”Pan-European telecom services need a regulatory ”one-stop shop” to operate throughout Europe and this is why the Commission has acted,” said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.
”Now we expect operators to be transparent and innovative in their price offerings. If consumers receive shock phone bills, the service will not take-off.”
Costs will be down to the service providers then, but these will be closely monitored.
She said the Commission was responding to demand from air travellers for in-flight mobile usage, acknowledging it would be particularly advantageous for ”business travellers who need to be ready to communicate wherever they are.”
However, she added that ”airlines and operators [should] create the right conditions on-board aircraft to ensure that those who want to use in-flight communication services do not disturb other passengers.”
Passengers” phones will be linked to an on-board cellular network connected via satellite to whomever they call ” and preventing mobiles linking directly to networks on the ground, ensuring transmission powers are kept low, so as not to affect aircraft equipment.
The Commission”s measures also harmonise licensing requirements, promoting mutual recognition throughout the EU of nationally-granted licenses.