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The skies, with us

Talking on the phone during a flight?

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One of the first actions you take when boarding a plane for a trip is to put airplane mode on any device that can connect to a wireless network. But why is this recommendation to passengers, and will it still be necessary in the years to come?

In the last blog we talked about the aviation industry 10 years from now and this is one of the first milestones achieved, one of the first milestones on that roadmap.

The mere fact that airlines ask for airplane mode to be switched on before take-off and during the entire flight is because it causes interference in telecommunications systems, generating intense noise that, besides being very annoying for pilots, can prevent them from receiving alert messages. 

The biggest problem of flying without airplane mode on electronic devices is during take-off and landing. However, this will no longer be necessary in the next few years as the European Union has recently approved the use of internet on mobile devices in aircraft.

What does this change mean?

Airlines will be able to offer the latest 5G technology on their planes alongside previous generations of internet connectivity, allowing passengers to use their devices and make in-flight calls. Last Thursday, the European Commission updated its decision on air mobile spectrum. Thierry Breton, France's Internal Market Commissioner "5G will enable innovative services for people and provide growth opportunities for European businesses. The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to the possibilities offered by ultra-fast and high-capacity connections".

This will allow European passengers to use their phones, tablets and laptops while flying at full capacity and functionality just as they would on the ground. This new option will put an end to "air plane mode". Currently, all airlines are asking their customers to enable this function on all their electronic devices to avoid any interference that could damage the aircraft or cause a serious accident.

It should be noted that since 2008, the European Commission has reserved certain frequencies for mobile communications on aircraft. This allows certain airlines to offer messaging, calls or data usage. Most airlines allow passengers to connect to Wi-Fi networks during flights. The Brussels decision paves the way for the widespread adoption of 5G technology, which will enable faster connections to networks with lower latency and a greatly improved traveller experience when flying. 

In June 2019, Vodafone Spain began offering 5G in major cities across Spain. 5G is spreading at a rapid pace around the world, but Europe is one of the countries where the technology is most prominent. According to a report published by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), it stated that the fifth generation of mobile technologies was commercially available in around 70 countries by June 2022, up from 38 in mid-2020.

What do you think will be the next game changer in the aviation industry?


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