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European regulators clear mobile broadband for take-off

on November 14, 2013

Gigaom

Passengers flying in the European Union may soon be able to use 3G and 4G mobile broadband in the air, after a rule-change by regulators at the European Commission. The shift allows the use 3G and 4G radio spectrum at an altitude of 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) or more.

Now that the Commission has green-lit the use of mobile broadband spectrum at such lofty heights (2G spectrum use is already allowed at the same altitude), the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) is expected to issue specific guidance about the use of devices by the end of this month. It is then up to the airlines themselves to decide whether they want to allow their passengers to use their smartphones and tablets in this way.

That’s because anyone hoping to take advantage of mobile broadband up in the sky will need the airline’s own mobile network to do so. This “mobile…

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