The European Commission wants 5G to be available to passengers on airliners in the EU.
Mobile operators haven’t covered your home with 5G yet? Perhaps you can access it before by taking the plane. Indeed, Brussels has just moved the lines, so as to authorize the use of the new generation of mobile telephony on board aircraft circulating above the Old Continent.
5G in airplanes? Coming soon
The arrival of mobile ultra-broadband on board aircraft would come in addition to other existing standards, such as 3G and 4G. In a press release dated November 24the Commission has updated its Implementing Decision on operation of mobile communications services on board aircraftto reflect the state of the telecom sector.
How is it possible to bring stable mobile communications to airplanes at an altitude of almost 10,000 meters, i.e. beyond the range of any base station, even as the aircraft moving at hundreds of kilometers per hour? The trick consists in putting satellites in the loop, which make the connection with the networks on the ground.
” The service is provided in the cabin of an equipped aircraft using special networking equipment, called a ‘pico-cell’, to connect users and route calls, texts and data, usually via a satellite network, between the aircraft and the mobile network on the ground “, specifies the Commission. This pico-cell acts as a mini cell tower, adds Wired.
From the passengers’ point of view, the experience must be similar to what they would have on dry land. They need to be able to watch high quality videos without any loading time, play video games with minimal latency, download large files without waiting… in other words, the same 5G experience as on Earth.
Concretely, ” the passenger can connect his smartphone to a base station, as if activating data roaming abroad “. On board the aircraft, however, the connection is made via Wi-Fi between passengers and the on-board mobile system, which is linked to the satellite network. This is already done for 4Gfor exemple.
A limit however. L’National Frequency Agency indicates that this possibility is limited to data-related uses. Telephone calls are prohibited. to respect the tranquility of other passengers Moreover, it is not free: the airlines charge for access to this connectivity on board, with a variable price depending on the offer and the services chosen.