Everything happens in cycles these days – what’s old becomes new again, the obsolete becomes necessary. Just when you think you’re not going to have a use for something, then along comes an interesting new development for innovative recycling.
Take the outdated illuminated “no smoking” signs on planes for instance. Now as smoking is almost universally banned on aircraft, there doesn’t seem to be much use for the signs anymore – other than a reminder to the smoky old days of long-haul flights. But all that is to change with the proposed introduction of mobile phones on aeroplanes in European airspace.
“No mobile” signs are set to replace the “no smoking” signs on Airbus aircraft as European flight carriers Air France, BMI and TAP test out the new in-flight mobile phone service coverage. The “no mobile” signs will be illuminated at appropriate times, just as the “no smoking” signs were before the bans in the late 1990s and as the “fasten seatbelt” signs are currently.
Older planes will have the “no mobile” signs retrofitted and newer models will have them installed. Only when the plane has reached a certain altitude will it be safe to switch off the “no mobile” signs and then all mobile handsets can be used by passengers without a risk of interfering with navigation signals and ground-level mobile networks.
Yet what exactly does this new technology for the mobile phone offer the mobile network customer and airline passenger? The proposed system involves an onboard base station routing the calls via satellites to the on-the-ground mobile network providers. This unbelievable mobile phone deal allows passengers to make calls from almost anywhere!
However, calls from aeroplanes will be charged at a different rate from regular national or international mobile phone rates, and the anticipated charges are currently external to any mobile phone offers that previously exist on mobile phones. Charges and mobile phone deals are set to be determined by mobile phone network providers and flight carriers, so just be aware that it will attract a higher call cost than the normal rate.