The European Union says it will allow airline passengers to use their 5G smartphones in flight, though it has yet to specify a rollout schedule.
The EU has assigned frequencies it claims won’t interfere with communications and avionics for cell phones, meaning that passengers will be free to use their phones as usual on most flights. 5G will enable innovative services for consumers and growth opportunities for European companies.
At lower altitudes, passengers will be able to connect to the standard network an use 4G and 5G services. For higher altitudes (exact details were not included in the announcement) airlines will be able to set up local networks – so-called picocells – on their aircraft, which will collect and relay the 5G data to base stations on the ground. Picocells will operate on frequencies of 5 GHz and above while aircraft equipment will be at 4.2-4.4 GHz.
The 5 GHz frequencies will be available for ground vehicles by summer but it is unclear when airlines will have access to them.