Ericsson Unveils In-Flight Cell Equipment

A variation of its standard cellular base station, Ericsson said it will make the equipment available to airlines later this year.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

June 13, 2005

1 Min Read

Wireless infrastructure vendor Ericsson Monday unveiled equipment that it says will enable in-flight use of cell phones.

The equipment supports only GSM technology, which is used almost universally in Europe and by Cingular and T-Mobile in the U.S. However, it doesn't support CDMA technology used by U.S. wireless operators such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

"GSM is the largest mobile communications standard in the world and is used in every country," Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson's vice president for GSM product management, said in a statement. "This is why Ericsson now is making mobile telephony available on board aircrafts and ships."

The equipment is a version of its existing RBS 2708 base station used by wireless operators. The company claimed that the device will act like any other cell in the cellular network and that wireless operators will be able to handle it mostly the same as they handle other cells.

The company said the equipment will be available for installation later this year. In the U.S., the FCC has been investigating whether to relax its ban on in-flight cell service and United Airlines has said it expects to provide such service in 2006.

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