Airplane Mode on smartphones: How this feature may become ‘obsolete’ soon

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Airplane Mode is a default feature which is available in all smartphones and is used usually during air travel. However, this smartphone feature may become obsolete in the European Union (EU) soon. Starting in 2023, the EU regulatory body European Commission will reportedly let airline passengers use data and even make calls while being in the air. As per the EU’s latest decision, airlines will be allowed to offer 5G services. However, it is important to note that some airlines already provide their passengers with free or paid in-flight Wi-Fi.
The EU’s new rule may allow 5G services in aircraft
The EU’s new rule states that airline passengers will be able to stream music, videos, access their apps, and make phone calls on aircraft equipped with 5G. EU state members will have to make 5G technology accessible on airlines by June 30, 2023.
According to a report by Gizmodo, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton has said in a statement that 5G services for airlines will not only “enable innovative services for people” but will also help European companies to grow.
How will this technology work
The report mentions that airlines will use special network equipment called ‘pico-cell’ to route calls, texts, and data via a satellite network that will connect the aircraft to the ground-based mobile network.

The report also mentions that the chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, Dai Whittingham, has claimed that cell phone usage on aircraft was prohibited due to the lack of knowledge about how it would affect the plane.

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Can 5G interference be a concern for in-flight services
5G interference with the pilot’s navigation system has been a concern in the US. However, Whittingham has added that the same concerns don’t apply in the UK and the EU.
Whittingham noted that Europe has a different set of frequencies for 5G. Moreover, the power settings used in EU countries are lower than those that have been allowed in the US. He even assured that regulators will outline the necessary steps to ensure safety for using 5G on an aircraft.

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