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Ofcom Propose to Allow 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband on Aircraft

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 (10:57 am) - Score 605

It’s already possible to make 2G based voice calls on-board flights (note: not all allow it though) and Ofcom has now launched a new consultation that aims to extend this by enabling the use of 3G (UMTS at 2100MHz) and 4G (LTE at 1800MHz) based Smartphones and related devices on a licence-exempt basis while flying.

The UK communications regulator has based its new proposal on a related decision by the European Commission (EC), which allows for the inclusion of additional access technologies and frequency bands for mobile communications services on aircraft “so that air passengers can use their mobile devices for transferring large amounts of data” (i.e. Mobile Broadband).

All EU member states are required to adopt this decision into national law by 12th May 2014 and so Ofcom, which will leave its consultation open until 12th March 2014, is merely following suit.

The move comes shortly after the regulator also gave the all clear for planes to use a new generation of superfast broadband satellites (here), which can also be used to relay in-flight communications.

Mobile Communications Services on Aircraft Consultation
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mca-exemption/

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Does this new legislation for 3G and 4G in flight also include mobile data or only voice calls?

    • Yes Ofcom states: “In light of the progress made in technological advancements, we are proposing to authorise the licence exempt use of more spectrum on board aircrafts, in flight so that air passengers can use their mobile devices for transferring large amounts of data.”

  2. Avatar Matthew Williams

    Looks like 4G will only be for EE and Three least all network customers will be able to have 3G.

  3. Avatar Phil

    It’s will be option extra to pay in-flight 3G/4G (probably will be dearer expensive)

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