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In-flight cellphones on Airbus planes by 2006?

airbus 320

When British Airways CIO bitched that planemakers should be building new wireless technologies into airplanes rather than expecting them to be retrofitted (and thus grounded for extended periods of time), we guess Airbus was listening, since they decided it'd be a good time to announce that they'd made some progress towards enabling in-flight cellphone use (not that we're dying to have to listen to fellow passengers yammer away while we're buckled in or anything). During recent test flights Airbus was able to use cellphones to successfully call and send text messages to both people on the ground and other mid-air cellphones. The test flights used an onboard base station which routed calls with the Globalstar satellite communications network to ground cellular networks, and yes, it's absolutely shocking, but they didn't encounter any navigation or communication problems. They're predicting that in-flight cellphone service could be a reality as early as 2006.

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