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Qantas has been given permission to start testing in-flight mobile phone use, though for now usage will be restricted to data only and on just one aircraft.

According to CNet, lucky passengers on the selected Boeing 767, flying between Australian cities over the next three months, will be able to send and receive 160-character missives as well as access GPRS services for email and the like. They'll need to have international roaming enabled, as the aircraft will be operating as a roamed-to network (with associated cost).

Customers won't be able to make voice calls on the service, which will be a relief for their neighbours. Connections are routed from the plane over a satellite connection, which leads to the inevitable latency that few phone users are familiar with these days. ®

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