Feeds

Ryanair joins the rush to allow inflight calling

Hello, I'm over the Atlantic

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Ryanair passengers will soon be able to make and receive GSM phone calls in the air.

The budget airline has teamed up with OnAir to equip its entire fleet with the technology by the middle of 2008. It will be the first airline to be completely GSM-enabled.

Ryanair joins bmi, who will be offering the capability on selected routes by the end of 2006, and Air France, who will be trialling the system in 2007.

The system operates by having a GSM picocell located on the plane. GSM handsets adjust their output power depending on their proximity to the nearest cell so, by having a cell onboard, the output power is kept to a minimum, vastly reducing any potential risk of interference with aircraft instruments.

From the picocell the connection is over a satellite link, which will introduce an unavoidable latency. Voice and SMS should work acceptably and most GPRS applications including email and web surfing, but no World of Warcraft over the Atlantic. The system is also GSM and GPRS only, no 3G.

Planes are, for the moment, relative islands of escape from the ever-present mobile, but according to OnAir "research has shown that concern over noise related to mobile phone usage is ranked lower than a baby crying or a passenger snoring loudly".

"Solutions include passengers turning phones to silent mode (i.e. no ringing or beeping) onboard aircraft; [or] cabin crew switching the system to 'tap not talk' mode (i.e. SMS and GPRS only) during quiet phases of flight."

The big question is how much these services are going to cost. No one is being drawn into estimates yet, other than to say it will be comparable with current international roaming. Though if that means before or after the EU-mandated capping of such charges remains to be seen. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.