sstsomeday
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Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:27 pm

We have seen reports that some electronic manufacturers / airlines are researching the possibility of adding technology to airliners which will enable passengers to use their cell phones while in flight.

(As a sidebar, I don't begin to understand how this will be technically feasible or regulated, since cell phone use is now baned because it supposedly interferes with regular A/C systems. I've also heard that some cell phones interfere whereas others do not, based on their operating systems, so it would become something the airlines would have to police on board. Or else perhaps the machinery would include technology which could render only the banned cell phones unusable.)

But my primary concern is a more fundamental one: Are airlines going to sequester the cell phone users to certain sections of the cabin, much like they used to sequester smokers? We know that the next generation of A/C are going to have quieter cabins (less background/outside noise from engines and airflow), which makes this issue more critical. If everyone on board an airplane has access to anyone in the world via phone, I have to assume that an airplane cabin is going to become a VERY noisy place.

I have often endured people talking loudly to each other on an overnight flight, quite oblivious to those around them trying to sleep. Imagine if passengers can call anybody they know?

I would think that further complicating the seat-selection process would be a large added expense for the airlines. But if they don't do it, the experience of flying in coach is going to be that more tortuous.

Recently, efforts to offer internet access on board have been discontinued since the systems were expensive for the airlines to install and operate, while customers were reluctant to use them because they were cost prohibitive. I wonder how airlines will charge for on-board personal cell phone use, and if it will be an economical enough deal that passengers will use the service?

If so, without sequestering the talkers from the readers and the sleepers, I see flying further deteriorating to a new low.

Has anyone heard about developments in this regard, or any intentions on the part of the airlines to sequester the callers?
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jetblue32
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:05 pm

Segregating the cabins is not a workable solution, as many will not be able to sit where they want, and the noise will just spread through the cabin, anyway. The only workable solution I see is allowing only silent options and no voice calls (this is what JetBlue is tentatively saying they will do). Fortunately, in the U.S., we won't see it become widespread for a couple of years at least, since the FCC dropped the issue, for the time being, not to mention the FAA and other parties involved have been slow to move on it as well (the FAA would have to verify that all types of phones are safe for all types of aircraft being operated). When it does come back into play, we can only hope at least some of the airlines will exercise caution and look at the big picture (being aware they may lose business to offset that revenue they are being enticed with, as many will be inclined to drive or fly airlines that don't allow voice calls; not to mention the near certainty of skyrocketing air rage/violent conflict between passengers). Our society's manners are just so atrocious that this would be unbearable in such a confined space.
 
CXfirst
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:28 pm

How many people do u think will use their phones. It will probably be extremely expensive. A lot of carriers already have phones connected to each IFE set, however due to the expenses, people don't often use it.

-CXfirst
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:16 pm

Quoting SSTsomeday (Thread starter):
As a sidebar, I don't begin to understand how this will be technically feasible or regulated, since cell phone use is now baned because it supposedly interferes with regular A/C systems.

It's interference with the ILS navigation antennas, as far as I know. The computers on the aircraft can take a lot more than a cell phone can dish out but if you interfere with an external signal you are in a garbage-in/garbage-out situation. So the technical fix is simply to prevent cell phone operation during takeoff and landing, just as we do today. The change will be when they tell you it's OK to use personal electronic devices, that would now include your cell phone.

Tom.
 
jetblue32
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:23 am

VOIP may pose the bigger threat, though, as there would be no sky-high roaming charges to discourage frivolous calls like there would be with cell phone service. When internet access is tried in the U.S. next year with AirCell, they are planning to block that feature, initially. I'm not sure if it is to preserve the quiet cabin environment, or so they can offer cell service at a premium later.
 
paladin87
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:29 am

The #1 biggest dislike of passengers it to sit next to a talker, IT was on a CNN or FOX News survey, flying is bad enough already.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:33 am

Quoting Jetblue32 (Reply 4):
VOIP may pose the bigger threat, though, as there would be no sky-high roaming charges to discourage frivolous calls like there would be with cell phone service. When internet access is tried in the U.S. next year with AirCell, they are planning to block that feature, initially. I'm not sure if it is to preserve the quiet cabin environment, or so they can offer cell service at a premium later.

While bandwidth on satellite links is not an issue, latency is. Comms satellites are pretty far from the Earth. And latency is the enemy of VOIP.

But it might be workable. Didn't think to try it when I had Connexion.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
redflyer
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:40 am

Quoting SSTsomeday (Thread starter):
Imagine if passengers can call anybody they know?

They can currently do that in most Business and First Class seats. Yet, I don't see a lot of cell usage when I fly in those sections of an aircraft and, when I have, the calls (including those that I've made) have been of very short duration (e.g., "Hi, flight's scheduled to arrive a little late because of a late departure", etc.).

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 2):
How many people do u think will use their phones. It will probably be extremely expensive. A lot of carriers already have phones connected to each IFE set, however due to the expenses, people don't often use it.

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From what I understand, your cell phone will work through equipment installed on the airplane to allow proper transfer of signal from one ground cell to another as the aircraft moves across the sky. I don't think such equipment is going to be installed in order to give passengers unlimited and cheap access to their mobile networks. It's going to be just as expensive (or close to) what current in-seat phone charges are, which will keep the calls relatively short. Hopefully.
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northstardc4m
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:00 am

There are coupl3 of things to consider here when we talk about stopping voice calls:

1> Voice services (on GSM or CDMA) also handle Text messages (SMS), so to block voice service it will be necessary to do it at the services level rather than just turning off the network
2> Data services (GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/EVDO/whatever) now CAN forward voice calls through Voice over IP services. There is NO way to disable this, the packets look the same. Limiting connection speed will make it less workable, but ever generation of WVoip increases the latency tolerance and compression ratios. This gets even more complicated with the next generation of devices which feature worldphone/multiple carrier opitions with automatic switching.

So i think there are a few considerations that will mean... yup... "HI HONEY! YEAH THE RASH IS GONE! WHAT? NO IM ON A PLANE..."




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msnyx
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:13 am

I know there are some instances in which the cell phone interferes with the aircraft systems (I seem to recall a post from a Turkish Air pilot a few years ago), but I have heard that the main problem is not so much the airlines getting angry, but the cell phone companies. When traveling at such a high rate of speed, the cell phone has to switch every few seconds which tower it is connected to, thus causing many dozen towers to be tied up for just a short call. The towers can only handle so many calls at once, so if one phone is taking up a "slot" on dozens of towers at once, the cell phone company gets mad.

This is just what I have heard from some people. It may be completely false, but it seems to make sense to me. Maybe someone in the cell phone industry can clarify.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me
 
sstsomeday
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RE: Will That Be Cell Phone, Or Non?

Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:18 pm

Quoting Jetblue32 (Reply 1):
Our society's manners are just so atrocious that this would be unbearable in such a confined space.

Amen.

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 2):
How many people do u think will use their phones. It will probably be extremely expensive. A lot of carriers already have phones connected to each IFE set, however due to the expenses, people don't often use it.

I was assuming that it would be a lot cheaper once they installed the equipment that makes cell phones usable at altitude. However, if it remains expensive then I am relieved to predict that the price will be a general deterrent, as it is now.

Quoting Paladin87 (Reply 5):
The #1 biggest dislike of passengers it to sit next to a talker, IT was on a CNN or FOX News survey, flying is bad enough already.

This is what I am (quietly) talking about...
I come in peace

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