Mobile phones allowed on planes in Europe

Mobile phones on planes

[7th April 2008]

Passengers will be able to make calls on mobile phones on aircraft flying in Europe thanks to new legislation from the European Commission.

The EC says it has responded to demand from air travellers who want to be able to use their mobile phones during flights, as well as from the telecoms industry which would like to be able to cater for this demand.

"Pan-European telecom services, such as in-flight mobile telephony, need a regulatory 'one-stop shop' to operate throughout Europe and this is why the Commission has acted today. One regulatory decision for all European airspace was required for this new service to come into being," explains EU Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding.

The new EU legislation will mean that national licences granted to individual airlines will be recognised throughout the EU. So an aircraft registered in the UK will be able to offer services for mobile phone users when flying over say France or Germany without having to apply for any additional licences.

In order for mobile phone services on board aircraft to take off the EU is asking for cooperation from the telecoms industry. "Now we expect operators to be transparent and innovative in their price offerings. In-flight mobile phone services can be a very interesting new service especially for those business travellers who need to be ready to communicate wherever they are, wherever they go. However, if consumers receive shock phone bills, the service will not take-off," warns Reding.

While many people will welcome the EU's decision, there will also inevitably be others who will regard the use of mobile phones on planes as a nuisance. Anticipating this, Reding says: "I also call on airlines and operators to create the right conditions on board aircraft to ensure that those who want to use in-flight communication services do not disturb other passengers".

Written by: Nick Purdom


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