The European Commission is paving the way for European airlines to begin offering inflight 5G connectivity, taking away our last remaining excuse to disengage from texts and email threads that we really don’t want to be bothered with.
Passengers could eventually be given the option to make phone calls, send texts, and receive data by connecting to a pico-cell base station on board, which then connects to ground-based networks by satellite.
“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies,” Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market, announced. “The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity.”
What about airplane safety?
Inflight 5G, which uses a different frequency from cockpit communications, is not expected to cause any safety issues. Planes use 4.2-4.4GHz range for their connectivity, while phones use 5GHz spectrum and up.
While no aviation accidents have been confirmed to have been caused by mobile phones, airlines currently require that mobile phones be turned off to avoid any possible interference with communication and navigation equipment on aircraft.
Spectrum rollout is expected by the middle of next year, giving airlines time to update their planes with non-sensitive equipment.