The EU has approved the use of mobile phones on aircraft, which will enable passengers to make mobile phone calls after the plane reaches 3,000m or more. The decision follows a six-month consultation by the European Commission who claims the first services could be available before the end of the month.
Mobile phones are currently banned on EU aircraft, but will now be allowed in 27 European countries via Pico cells, or tiny base stations that can be installed on planes. These Pico cells can be switched off during take off and landing or during periods of turbulence, which will force those who flout the ruling to end their calls as the signal will be immediately lost. Viviane Reding, EU telecommunications commissioner, has stated that the EU will monitor the prices of calls and data transfer issues in order to ensure that price abuses do not occur.