Phones On Planes

from the yakkety-yakking-in-the-air dept

Well, now that we’ve got WiFi in the sky, we’re getting closer to yakking in the sky as well. A few months back we mentioned the idea of sticking a cell tower on the plane itself as a way of avoiding that whole messy phone-connecting-to-hundreds-of-cell-towers-on-the-ground thing. Now, American Airlines and Qualcomm have successfully tested just such a solution. Passengers were able to make calls, send text messages and surf the internet from their phones. Of course, if this works out, and 3G wireless networks become more popular, airlines may not even need to worry about setting up internet access on a plane — people will do it by themselves using their phones. Of course, the test only ran for CDMA phones (it is Qualcomm running the test, after all), but that does raise a question about whether every plane will need to carry such micro-cells from all the major carriers to make this really work. Some may also wonder whether or not airlines will need to create special “quiet zones” (like those found on many train lines) for those who are annoyed at the possibility of sitting next to someone screaming (and with all that background noise, they will be screaming) on their mobile phone for the whole flight.

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