US fliers may have to pay for in-flight cell phone calls

  • The US federal government is likely to end the ban on in-flight phone calls soon and cellular companies are anticipating tapping into a potential revenue source. Since it will cost cell phone companies millions of dollars to install the necessary equipment on planes to provide this facility, analysts expect carriers to recover these costs with a per-flight fee that's similar to how in-flight Wi-Fi works today.

    To keep calls clear and uninterrupted, each commercial plane would need to be constantly connected, even while it travels at a height of 39,000 feet, and at a speed of 550 miles per hour. This would require the installation of a powerful transmitting device that can send signals to both antennae on the earth and satellites in space. Installing that technology could cost between $3 million and $4 million per plane, according to analysts. This cost is likely to be passed on to fliers who wish to avail of uninterrupted calls while in the air.  

    Tagged as: In-flight cell phone use, cellular phones, US, technology news