New Plans To Let People Use Mobile Phones On Planes

from the it's-about-time dept

While it’s never been adequately explained exactly why you can’t use mobile phones on planes, I’ve always wondered why no one was working on a technology solution to solve the various problems listed for the ban. It seems that, finally, some companies are building technology to let people use their own mobile phones on airplanes. Of course, it sounds like these plans would still require people to pay quite a bit per phone call, but nothing like the $4/minute currently charged to use the installed phones on airplanes.

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Comments on “New Plans To Let People Use Mobile Phones On Planes”

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todd says:

No Subject Given

most airlines are pulling out the airphones. The phone cos wanted to lower price to induce greater demand. Airlines didn’t have the same incentives, so scrapped.

Now, 35,000 feet up is ~7 miles, and you are traveling at 400 – 550 mph. How, exactly, do people expect to get reception with their regular phones? Damn, I hate it when physics get in the way…..

LittleW0lf says:

Re: No Subject Given

Now, 35,000 feet up is ~7 miles, and you are traveling at 400 – 550 mph. How, exactly, do people expect to get reception with their regular phones? Damn, I hate it when physics get in the way…..

The problem isn’t this…cells can be seen by phones as far away as 7 miles (even at milliwatts of power,) when they are line of sight. Not great reception, but they can still see them. If the cell is blocked by houses, hills, water towers, etc., it cuts down the distance significantly…but in the air this is not an issue. It is the fact that at that height, you can see way too many cells, and thus your phone may be jumping back and forth between a huge number of cells (which ever it thinks is closer) and thus could have quite a problem. Of course, people have used their cell phones in the past from airplanes, without causing any problems, but I certainly wouldn’t be using mine when a cell in Mexico might be more appealing to my phone than one in America (roaming charges are a killer.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Littlewolf, traveling at 450 miles/hour, you go 7 miles in one minute. You are already at the limit of cell reception in clear line-of-sight from sheer height (z), and you are going from one xy limit of a cell tower to the other xy limit of a cell tower every minute. Handoffs between towers every minute? Not fun!

And you are so right with clear line-of-sight: the plane is the first (and primary) obstacle. Houses don’t stay in view long enough to block much.

Lastly, the physics of signal transmission dictate that the intensity of a signal falls off with the square of the distance. Milliwatts is hopeful; I’m guessing microwatts.

Here in the midwest, cell density is a real issue when trying to call from a plane. I’ve had it work over Chicago, but try over any part of Iowa.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do you really want your seatmate on the phone?!?

While I believe that airlines have likely kept cell phones off in planes primarily to try to earn extra $$$ on their proprietary systems, has anyone really thought through how bad an experience it would be to fly alongside passengers using their cell phones?

I am positive that I would be annoyed by a seatmate caller, particularly if that call lasted a while. I can only imagine what it would be like if people ditched civility altogether and gabbed the entire flight. Maybe we’ll want non-cell phone sections of the plane just like we used to have non-smoking sections.

Anonymous Coward says:

maybe they interfere with communications ...

in Europe you haven t got phones on most planes and you can t use them anyway. Also you hear from time to time of cellphones interfering with radio communications and key instruments during landings and take-offs.

Maybe it s just journalistic crap, but that s the tech ground on which they justify the measure

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