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Ofcom gives green light to mobiles on UK planes

If you’ve been reading the news about Emirates and Qantas’ launches of in-flight mobile access and wondering when such mile-high talk and text would be coming to the UK, Ofcom has the answer.

The regulator has announced that it will permit mobiles in aircraft as long as the airline has the backing of either the European Aviation Safety Agency or the Civil Aviation Authority. Ofcom gives the proviso that phones must still be switched off on take off and landing and connectivity can only be switched on once the plane reached 3,000 metres.

Initially, airlines will be able to offer GSM and “if the service is successful it could be extended to 3G and other services in future”, Ofcom says. Is this the death of work downtime on planes as we know it? And how long before there’s an air-rage incident because someone couldn’t keep their voice down in-flight?

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