UK Endorses In-Flight Mobile Voice, Data Plans

The days of “flight mode” could be numbered. UK telecom regulator Ofcom today ratified plans to allow mobile communications on airplanes in Europe. The proposal first have to be agreed to by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Higher than 3,000 metres, passengers will be free to use their handsets via their regular carrier, with traffic routed down to the ground via satellite. This would truly mean business flyers can remain productive even while in transit, though the system will so far be only 2G – 3G would be added if that proves successful. It’s worth noting that, until the European Commission forced carriers to reduce roaming charges, cross-border data use in the air could have proved a financial nightmare.