Bye-bye airplane mode: EU allows smartphones during flights

Bye-bye airplane mode: EU allows smartphones during flights
Credit: Belga / Thiago Roca dos Santos

Within the European Union, airlines will be able to install the latest 5G technology on their aircraft, allowing passengers to use their smartphones and other connected devices just as they do on the ground.

The European Commission has adapted the legislation on mobile communications to the most modern standards. As a result, 5G coverage can also be made available on aircraft.

"The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to high-speed, high-capacity connections," said EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton. "5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies."

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The 5G coverage will be made possible by installing a so-called "pico-cell" in the aircraft. Via that network station, telephone calls, text messages and data traffic can be sent via a satellite network to a mobile network on the ground.

In another decision, the Commission also wants to open up the 5 GHz frequencies to wifi in cars, buses and other means of transport. Belgium and the other EU Member States have until 30 June 2023 to make the 5GHz bands accessible for road transport.

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