There is good news on the horizon for European Union airline passengers. The ban on mobile networks on aeroplanes will soon become a thing of the past thanks to the powers of 5G technology. It would be possible to use mobile data and maybe even place calls.
This should be good news for any traveller as there will be no need to put your mobile phone on “airplane mode” during air travel.
Preparations to make this development a reality are in full swing. To aid this cause, member states of the European Union have been given June 30 2023, a deadline to make 5G frequency available for aeroplanes.
When this eventually becomes a reality, those long flights don’t have to be so boring anymore.
According to EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, “The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity.”
He added that the move would help European companies grow and enable innovative services for people.
The European Commission has yet to explain how this will work fully. It is believed that the airlines will employ “Pico-cell”, a unique network equipment, to route texts, calls and data through a satellite network which then links with the ground-based mobile network.
Was Mobile Data Ever Harmful To Airplanes?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first banned the use of mobile networks on aeroplanes in 1991. They explained the reason in a 2013 docket as “guarding against the threat of harmful interference from airborne use of cellular phones to terrestrial cellular networks.”
Many have been curious whether the mobile network was harmful to aeroplanes. The main reason for the ban was that the radio interference of mobile networks could cause interference with the pilot’s navigation systems.
So whether you’re wondering if you need to turn off aeroplane mode or the consequences of not doing so, it will make your pilot’s life easier. This, in turn, means passenger safety.
Thankfully, according to Travel and Leisure, there has never been any recorded aeroplane crash due to a phone not being in “airplane mode”.
Before this development, the EU Commission had some frequency bands reserved for aeroplanes since 2008. While this allowed mid-air internet service, it has historically been slow and frustrating.
With the aid of the 5G network, it is believed that the new system can provide internet speed as fast as 100Mbps.
Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, suggested that the previous mobile data ban on aeroplanes resulted from inadequate knowledge on the matter.
He was quoted as saying, “There was a concern they could interfere with automatic flight control systems,” he said.
“What has been found with experience is the risk of interference is very small. The recommendation has always been that once you are in flight, devices should be in airplane mode.”
At this moment, this development is only exclusive to EU countries. 5G has always been a controversial subject in the US, for example – there is even a concern that 5G could interfere with flights and altitude measurements.
Mr Whittingham went ahead to downplay this concern as regards EU countries. He said, “There is much less prospect of interference,” he said, “We have a different set of frequencies for 5G, and there are lower power settings than those that have been allowed in the US.
“The travelling public wants 5G. The regulators will open up that possibility, but there will be steps that will be taken to ensure that whatever they do is safe.”
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