Feeds

Mobile phones soon to be allowed on aircraft

Hiya, I'm on the plane

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Mobile phones will soon be heard on commercial aircraft, subject to regulatory approval. UK communications regulator Ofcom published a proposal (pdf) today that would license the right for passengers to make calls above an altitude of 3,000 metres.

However, Ofcom points out that its remit is limited to the regulation of spectrum and electronic communications services. Safety must be assured before phones are allowed to ring in the air – and safety is the responsibility of other regulators. These are the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and, in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority.

Ofcom's main issue in spectrum management is that Mobile Communications on Aircraft (MCA) systems "should not generate any harmful interference to terrestrial networks". It notes a European standard that should reduce the risk. That standard states that the absolute minimum height above ground for any transmission from the system in operation shall be 3,000 metres.

Aircraft will need to be fitted with onboard networks for passengers' phones to operate and Ofcom believes the necessary equipment should be licensed rather than licence-exempt, "given the uncertainty surrounding the performance of these systems in operation and the substantial risks to terrestrial networks if they were the victims of interference".

Ofcom said it does not currently envisage any additional fees being charged for the use of the spectrum as a result of it being licensed. It adds that a move to a deregulated environment could be taken in the future if the risk of interference is proved negligible.

Onboard networks will be allocated mobile country codes and mobile network codes, one for each service provider, to give connectivity to passengers.

Ofcom acknowledged consumer concerns "about the potential for discomfort and agitation among passengers as a result of others using mobile phones". But this is the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority, it said.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.