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EU To Unify In-Flight Calls

The European Commission has announced a plan for enabling a pan-European approach to in-flight mobile phone calls. The plan would enable a carrier in one member nation to offer phone communications services to passenger when flying over another member state, without having to apply for operational licenses in that country. The goal is to offer a single regulatory framework for in-flight calls.

Although individual airlines will still be responsible for deciding when (and if) mobile phones can be used during flights, the EC measures would introduce a non-binding set of guidelines for mobile licensing and a set of standards for on0-board equipment to be used for in-flight calling throughout the EU.

The plans do not include any measure for capping fees for in-flight calls, but EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has already indicated the EC will keep an eye on the market as it develops to ensure callers aren’t being exploited. For the duration of a flight, an individual aircraft will effectively become an automonous network for billing purposes regardless of the plane’s location, athough callers will still be charges as if they were placing a call from abroad or roaming via another mobile network.

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