Ofcom has released guidelines which could allow UK airline passenger to use mobile phones by 2008.
The guidelines allow airlines to offer mobile services on UK-registered aircraft, if they wish to do so.
The system would work via a base station on the aircraft, which would connect to passenger’s mobile phone.
The guidelines require the base station and passenger’s phones to be turned off during take-off and landing to prevent interference with other terrestrial mobile networks.
They can be switched on again after the aircraft reaches a height of 3,000 metres.
Passengers will then be able to use the aircraft’s network service to make and receive calls, which will be routed via a satellite link to ground network.
The proposals cover the introduction of GSM (and GPRS) in the 1800 MHz band. An extension to include 3G would be considered if the service proves successful. They are subject to approval by the aviation authorities.