Airplane Mode will no longer be mandatory for EU airline passengers

Every modern mobile phone currently comes with a feature called Airplane Mode, which blocks all calls, messages and internet traffic when activated.

Basically, with this feature, the phone only allows local use of basic programs such as games without internet, camera, computer, photo gallery, calendar, etc.

It can be said that a smartphone without network access is more of a camera than a gadget. Soon, however, the Airplane Mode function will no longer make sense for European Union (EU) airline passengers, as the European Commission has allowed 5G technology on board planes.

“In addition to previous generations of mobile technology, airlines will be able to provide the latest 5G technology on board their aircraft, as the Commission has updated its implementing decision on spectrum for mobile communications on board aircraft, designating certain frequencies for in-flight 5G technology,” the official notice reads, as quoted by the BBC.

For 5G, the sky is no longer the limit

European Union airline passengers will soon be able to talk on their mobile phones in-flight, as the European Commission (EC) has updated its implementing decision on spectrum for in-flight mobile communications. The good news applies to air travel in the European Union, and therefore also to Romania, where 5G technology is in full development.

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The latest data showed less than half a million Romanians using 5G networks, but this will soon change as these services get better coverage and Romanians use new, 5G-compatible handsets. The auction for 5G licences for mobile operators in Romania took place in November 2022.

EU Member States have until 30 June 2023 to make 5G frequency bands available for commercial flights. This would mean passengers would no longer have to give up using their gadgets, but could still use them for calls, apps, music, access to movies and games. Internet use has also reached very high levels in Romania, where more than three quarters of the population have access to the online environment at home. There are also more and more high-speed connections for mobile internet.

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Data traffic is growing for every user, as we use the internet for more and more things in our daily lives, professionally and especially personally – from news and social media, to shopping, movie sites and video games, including online casino games, from the famous video slots, to roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker or online bingo.

The future sounds brighter for technology

“The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to the possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” said EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. The new system prepared by the European Union has a very fast transfer speed, offered by the 5G infrastructure, which can reach over 100Mbs.

Currently, on most flights, passengers are asked to turn off electronic devices or set mobile phones to Airplane Mode for fear of interference that could affect automated flight control systems. The risks are considered minor, and the frequency set used for 5G in the European Union does not affect flight safety at all, industry experts say.

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