Feeds

Ofcom hits green on in-flight calling

EU price caps won't apply 3km up

Top three mobile application threats

Ofcom will allow airlines to install GSM base stations on their planes, operating at 1800MHz, as long as they are only used more than 3km from the ground.

The regulator has no say over the safety of using a mobile on a plane, but is responsible for deciding what frequencies in-flight calling can use and how much to charge airlines for using them. For the moment, services will be restricted to 1800MHz and every aircraft will need its own licence - though licenses will be free of charge.

The statement (pdf) follows a consultation document published last year, and addresses the concerns of various companies in the industry, concerned individuals, and one (apparently fictional*) consumer organisation.

Seventeen of the 35 respondents were concerned about the potential irritation to other passengers, but Ofcom compared this to serving alcohol on aircraft and said it's up to the airline to deal with.

Three respondents thought switched-on mobiles might be used to trigger bombs, though it's debatable if the existing ban would prevent the dedicated suicide bomber from switching on a handset in-flight.

The most legitimate concerns regarded potential interference and the cost of the tests needed to ensure it's not causing a problem.

Ofcom said its 3km altitude limit should deal with this, and expects to get access to flight plans (from the National Air Traffic Service) to identify any interference problems.

Also of concern was that in-flight calling would be subject to the cap on roaming rates applied across Europe. Calls made from a plane are routed by satellite, making them more expensive for the operator who wants to pass that cost on to the customer.

Ofcom states that the EU cap clearly applies to "terrestrial" systems, so expects in-flight use to be exempt, though it does suggest airlines should make call charges clear. ®

* The "Open Minds Foundation" which has no address, phone number, or website and is represented by a "Mr AM Constant I".

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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 threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
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.