FCC may allow passengers to make in-flight cellular calls

By on November 22, 2013, 9:30 AM
fcc, faa, in-flight, picocell, in-flight calls

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is all set to consider allowing the use of cellular services during airline flights, with an open meeting scheduled for December 12 to discuss the proposal. "Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules", FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement on Thursday.

At present, in-flight cellular services are banned. But if the FCC has its way, airline passengers will be able to make airborne voice calls and send text messages over cellular networks. Cellular services would still be restricted below 10,000 feet altitude and while landing and takeoff, reports Wall Street Journal. Also, it would be up to the individual airlines to decide whether or not to allow in-flight cellular calls.

The news comes just a few weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relaxed some of its rules allowing passengers to read articles, watch movies, listen to music and play games from gate-to-gate, provided that the devices are in airplane mode (i.e. without a live cellular connection).

Mobile phones and other devices inside a plane can access cellular services through a small cellular base station installed onboard known as a Picocell, which extends coverage to areas with low signal.

Meanwhile, the Association of Flight Attendants has opposed the move.

User Comments: 6

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Parents rejoice! Your crying child will no longer be the most annoying thing on the plane!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

No frickin' way. I'll walk before sitting on an airplane with people yakking away on their cellphones. It's already irritating enough. To be stuck on a multi-hour flight and having to listen to it right next to and all around you? Forget it.

1 person liked this | Guest17 said:

I can hear the flight attendant saying, "...and if you would like to use your cellphone, please just step outside the plane..."

p51d007 said:

Oh goodie...another reason NOT to fly. Bad enough when you are stuck someplace with 3-4 people yacking on the phone, now have a flying tube filled with ****** yapping away.

Guest said:

Do cell phones still make 'static'/interference noise on speakers with incoming calls?

davislane1 davislane1 said:

If they allow calls in-flight, I suspect pilot licensing and private aircraft sales will go thru the roof. I know I won't be hopping on any commercial flights anymore.

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