EU to allow calls on flights

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The European Commission ruled that airlines can offer 5G technology alongside slower mobile data on board planes. This could mean that passengers will no longer have to put their phones in airplane mode, though the specifics of how this will be implemented are unknown.

This means that people will be able to use all of their phone’s features while in flight, including calls and data-heavy apps that stream music and video. According to a statement, service will be provided using special network equipment known as a pico-cell, which will connect the in-flight network to the ground via a satellite.

“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies,” Thierry Breton, the EC’s commissioner for the internal market said in the statement.

The US Federal Communications Commission canceled plans to allow in-flight voice and data services via mobile wireless frequencies in 2020, citing strong opposition from airline pilots and flight attendants, among others, on safety and national security grounds.

Calls, texts, and other similar activities were previously prohibited on flights because smartphones attempting to connect or connected to a mobile network can interfere with aircraft instructions and readings, requiring passengers to turn off their phones or keep them in flight mode.

The sources for this piece include an article in BBC.

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