A company called Aerophone has recently announced that they will be using picocell technology connected to transceivers to allow passengers to use their cellphones to talk while in-flight. According tot he company, the system will not have a negative effect on aircraft electronic systems.
According to Henry Shabat, CEO of Aerophone, the system supports all wavebands and requires neither the prior written registration of the passengers nor a particular billing system. The call costs of US$ 1.60 US dollars (about 1 euro) per minute are invoiced via the normal mobile telephone bill.
In small aircraft, the mobile telephone calls from the aircraft are transferred to the satellite system. They can thereby relay up to 24 calls simultaneously to terrestrial telephone networks via several receiving stations and gateways. In larger aircraft an additional transceiver for the Ku band (10.7 to 17.8 GHz) is installed, which then allows up to 96 calls simultaneously. Since the bandwidth for the connections is limited, Shabat says that presently only telephone calls and communication via short messages are realizable.
The company further says it will install its equipment on airlines free of charge and will look to a revenue share agreement on the minutes instead.