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Mobile Phones on planes

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SeaWolf

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So, as a lot of you have probably heard, one of the last place you simply can't use a mobile phone on is looking set to disappear:
Qantas to trial in-flight mobile phone use. 18/04/2007. ABC News Online
About Qantas - Newsroom

No calls yet, just SMS and email, but if it works out then I'm sure they'll start allowing calls as well. Guess it was inevitable, but now it won't just be the bus and train with too loud callers sharing their personal conversations with others.

There's no mention of surcharges though, which came as a surprise for me, I always thought one of the major reasons the airlines had held off on phones in flight was so they could figure out a way to charge extra for it.
 

serfty

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It will only be available as premium messaging serves via "international roaming".

So you can expect to pay a premium price.

:rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
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simongr

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In the US the FCC have confirmed that they will not allow mobile use on planes. There is a thread here somewhere about that and there is also a thread on Emirates plans to introduce allowing phones on flights.

I personally would love sms and email (via blackberry) on flights - if i want peace I can turn them off. I understand other people's reluctance for phones on planes. I have other refuges from phones - on my bike cycling, walking the dogs, in bed and I spend more time doing all of those than flying.

S
 

serfty

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I saw an article posted recently that detailed the QF service.

One of the interesting things is that the aircraft will have several 'Jammers' installed through the cabin(s) to prevent any commication with Oz based ground stations; thus preventing voice calls or 'cheap' SMS.
 
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SeaWolf

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That is weird, I would have thought they could have just changed a setting in the base station to tell it to reject any attempt at a voice call.
 
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serfty

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I've edited my post; the jammers actually prevent all ground station communications.

I'll try to find the information I saw ....
 

simongr

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I wonder if the "installation of jammers" is just a convenient way of calming the fears of some PAX that they will be surrounded by phone calls and in fact the jammers are a complex technology that marketing doesnt understand (lack of actual understanding of how the technology works demonstrated below):

Marketing: So how will we stop people making calls
IT: Well we will set the base station on the aircraft to route all traffic through a series of ports that verify whether the type of traffic is voice or data.
M: Wait - there is going to be a base station on the plane? Is that like one of those aerials they they disguise as trees? People dont like those and dont they cause radiation?
IT: No it a lot smaller
M: But it still cause radiation and wont this routing casue delays - the premium pax wont like that either
IT: It will be quick to verify
M: But someone is checking each message. Doesnt that violate rivacy rules (unlike our spam emails of course)
IT: Ok change of plan we will install jammers on the planes - you know like they have on some trains
M: You see that's what I thought we should use in teh first place....
 

NM

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serfty said:
It will only be available as premium messaging serves via "international roaming".

So you can expect to pay a premium price.

:rolleyes::rolleyes:
According to a CASA representative who was interviewed on ABC Radio (Brisbane) yesterday, the satellite ground station for this service is in Norway. So that certainly we involve premium charges to communicate with someone who may be 10km away (well, 10km below you).
 

serfty

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serfty said:
... I'll try to find the information I saw ....
Here's the information posted on Flyer Talk: Qantas keeps it head low in the news lately
THD (on FT) said:
Qantas are one step further to the mobile phone trial reported last year - one of the regulatory bodies has approved the trial.

From the Australian Communications and Media Authority:

MR 37/2007
18 April 2007
Final stage in place to allow a limited evaluation of mobile telephone services on board a commercial aircraft

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has enabled a limited evaluation of GSM mobile phones and GPRS devices on a commercial aircraft.

The evaluation – which is limited to one aircraft for up to 12 months - will be conducted by Qantas. It will be one of the first implementations of this kind of service in the world.

‘The granting of permissions for the evaluation service is the culmination of many months of work aimed at facilitating an industry need,' said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘The application to conduct the evaluation touched on a number of ACMA's responsibilities in the radiocommunications and telecommunications regulatory areas.'

To clear the way for the evaluation, ACMA has granted various approvals and exemptions including a carrier licence and a scientific assigned apparatus licence for a network control unit (see backgrounder), and two Nominated Carrier Declarations.

The evaluation will be conducted on one Qantas passenger aircraft operating only on domestic Australian routes. Qantas has decided to commence the evaluation with email and text only, disabling voice services. ACMA and other government bodies will consider the potential for permanent regulatory arrangements for the service once the results of the evaluation are known.

Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980.
Backgrounder
What is the network control unit?

A network control unit (NCU) is a device designed to facilitate on-board mobile phone communications, by passengers, in the 1.8 GHz band under a roaming agreement with the mobile phone user's normal carrier. Part of the NCU blocks access to terrestrially-based radiocommunications in the frequency bands 870 – 960 MHz or 825 – 845 MHz (the 900MHz band). The system consists of pico-cells on-board aircraft, connected by satellite link to a ground GSM/GPRS switching system. The airborne part of the system is connected to the terrestrial part by the aircraft's satellite system.

The NCU transmits a background radio noise signal inside the aircraft when the aircraft reaches an altitude of 6000 metres.

The NCU is intended to offer services comparable to existing mobile phone services, including:

* full duplex voice and text messaging support for GSM phones capable of operating within the 1800 MHz / 1900MHz GSM frequency band; and
* GPRS (general packet radio service) and related services i.e. MMS, EMS , picture messaging and email (when using Swift 64 or a broadband IP SATCOM). GPRS is a wireless data service, based on internet protocols that is available with almost every GSM network.

The system will also allow a service level control by the Crew Control Panel which is intended to give the cabin crew the ability to vary the service level on-board the aircraft should aircraft operation requirements dictate. This is proposed to include, but not be limited to:

* the ability to disable voice service allowing text-only capabilities
* complete disabling of the system while still managing phones that may be switched on
* showing the number of attached phones, and
* splitting VIP/crew and passenger services.

(end)
 

JohnK

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I can just picture the aircraft cabin like a war zone.
 

NM

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Check-In Agent: Sir, would you like a Texting seat or Non-Texting seat?
Passenger: What is the difference?
CIA: Texting seats are located towards the rear of the aircraft, starting at row 82.
Pax: Non-texting, please. If the cravings start I will walk down the back to satisfy my urging.
CIA: Very well sir, a forward seat it is. Now would you like reclining or non-reclining?
Pax: What is the difference?
CIA: Non-reclining on the left and reclining on the right of the aircraft.
Pax: Non-reclining please. If the cravings start, I will cross the aisle and find a spare seat to satisfy my urging.
CIA: Very well sir, AB or C it is. Now would like onions with your salad?
Pax: What's the difference?
CIA: Onions are only served in the mini-cabin ahead of row 35.
Pax: Non-onion salad please.
CIA: Very well, aft of row 35 it is. Now would you like working or non-working IFE?
Pax: What is the difference?
CIA: Non-working gets you on any of our scheduled flights. Working means we have to transfer you to the Singapore Airlines flight.
 

Happy Dude

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simongr said:
I personally would love sms and email (via blackberry) on flights - if i want peace I can turn them off. I understand other people's reluctance for phones on planes. I have other refuges from phones - on my bike cycling, walking the dogs, in bed and I spend more time doing all of those than flying.

S
If I want peace, can I turn off your blackberry too?

Hopefully they'll ask people to set alarms for incoming messages (and eventually calls) to vibrate or silent.

Anyone hazard a guess on how long between the introduction of mobile phone use on flights and the first report of "rage against the mobile phone user"?

I'm tipping hours.
 

SeaWolf

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Well, sadly it's become a case of something we just have to learn to live with. If people are prepared to talk on their mobiles even in the cinema now, when they KNOW they're being rude and shouldn't be doing it, I think it's a lost cause.
 

simongr

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Happy Dude said:
If I want peace, can I turn off your blackberry too?
< rant >Only if I can tell your screaming kids to get down the back of the bus, ask you to have a shower because you smell, kick the door in on you in the loo when you take 45 mins to brush your teeth, slap you on the hand every time you lean on my seat and throw you off the plane when you sit in the wrong seat and tell me it doesnt matter we are all going to be getting there at the same time anyway. < / rant >

Blackerries have to be one of the most inoffensive devices on planes - aside from a tick tick noise when I am typing a message or playing brick bat the only thing the little bitca does is flash red when I have a message - quite quite they are annoying to other pax I dont understand - they are just like a nagging old woman chasing me for things but making no sound.
 

JAB

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What would be interesting is if you had a high speed data packet session and were able to route VOIP calls over the system some how. That would interesting seeing the cabin crew running around trying to work out how you could make a voice call through the data only network.
 

moa999

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I note the docs only refer to GPRS sessions, not 3G - which would presumably make VOIP over a 3G modem or sim tough...

Somewhat surprising given a high %ge of phones will be 3G by the time trial is complete
 

simongr

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JAB said:
What would be interesting is if you had a high speed data packet session and were able to route VOIP calls over the system some how. That would interesting seeing the cabin crew running around trying to work out how you could make a voice call through the data only network.[
Bit like people using skype through the boeing connection - I havent heard many stories of onboard skype rage...

/



TE]
 

Evan

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My Nokia E60 already has a SIP client, but you could install an alternative as well i would imagine, not sure how the CPU would cope but the native SIP client must work so...

I woud be happy just to get email & sms.
Everybody makes valid points about the annoying factor of SMS alert tone etc though. Ok if i was awake, would be rather annoying it attepting to sleep as i usually do.

E
 
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