E.T. Can Phone Home From a Ryanair Plane
Leave it to one of the world's most nicket-and-dimey airlines to be the first to introduce in-flight cell phone use, for extra fees of course. Irish LCC Ryanair, which last we took it had even covered their vomit bags in ads, will let you make phone calls and even text message if your service provider is O2 or Vodafone.
According to the BBC, an antenna will be activated in airplanes once they reach 10,000 ft, and phones can "connect to that antenna and a mini GSM network that sends the calls and data via an Immarsat SwiftBroadband satellite link back down to earth." Apparently cell phones have been banned in the past because of the lack of this local antenna and "because they connected, or attempted to connect, to terrestrial networks."
As long as "terrestrial" goes without the "extra-" prefix, we're not too freaked out about in-flight cell phone use. As long as there are still hefty extra charges to using the service, such as £1.50 and £3 a minute for voice calls and £2 to send an email, in-flight gabbing will remain for emergency purposes. Texting, on the other hand, is a whole different story; while up to six passengers can make a phone call in-flight, the entire plane could text (at 40 pence each text) and silence could still reign. Maybe we'll just have to take another $45 roundtrip from Rome to Barcelona to test it out.
· Mobile Phones Take to the Skies [BBC]
· In-Flight Cell Phones Comes to Ryanair [Jaunted]
· Airline News coverage [Jaunted]