Feeds

Ryanair joins the rush to allow inflight calling

Hello, I'm over the Atlantic

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH
Congratulations, world media, for rediscovering submarine cable armour
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?