Passengers could soon be using their mobile phones on planes flying through European airspace.
Plans have been developed across EU countries to introduce technology which permits mobile calls without risk of interference with aircraft systems. Regulators around Europe are calling for consultation on the potential introduction of the technology.
If given the go ahead, the service would allow calls to be made when a plane is more than 3,000 metres high. Individual airlines would need to decide if they wanted to introduce the technology, if the green light is given by national regulators. The European Union has recommended to member states that the plan go ahead and space on the airwaves has been reserved for the technology. The cost of making a mobile phone call from a plane will be higher than making one from the ground. Mobile use is currently prohibited on planes because there is evidence that they interfere with onboard communication and navigation systems.


Research published in 2003 by the CAA found mobile phone signals skewed navigation bearing displays by up to five degrees. A spokesman for the UK regulator Ofcom said there were still many stages to pass through before final approval was given to the roll out of the plans.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in the UK, and the European Aviation Safety Agency are working to ensure that aircraft safety and passenger welfare issues are resolved before these systems can be used. The proposed system utilises an on-board base station in the plane which communicates with passengers' own handsets. The base station routes phone traffic to a satellite, which is in turn connected to mobile networks on the ground.
A network control unit on the plane is used to ensure that mobiles in the plane do not connect to any base stations on the ground. The current plan is for 2G phones only but Ofcom said that if services proved successful, it could be rolled out to 3G and other standards in the future.
Network status icons turn green if you have a Google Account added to your phone and the phone is connected to Google services, for syncing your Gmail, Calendar events, contacts, for backing up your settings etc.


See “Managing notifications” on page 29 for information about responding to these notifications. In the UK, regulator Ofcom said it would investigate and address any evidence of "excessive charges and abuses of competition" if prices were set unfairly by airlines and mobile networks. The base station - called a pico cell - is low power and creates a network area big enough to encompass the cabin of the plane.
It blocks the signal from the ground so that phones cannot connect and remain in an idle state. The network icons turn white if you don’t have a Google Account or you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network that is not connected to the Internet.
In addition these icons, applications you install on your phone may use their own notification icons.



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