"A year from now, a TV commercial might feature a horn-rimmed geek on an airplane saying into his cell phone, 'Can you hear me now?'
"Louisville-based AirCell Inc. has received a patent on technology that could make that statement a reality. The company, which puts its fixed telephones on general aviation aircraft, plans to offer equipment to commercial airlines by early 2004 that would allow passengers to use their own cell phones in flight."
The last thing we need is more 'Can you hear me now?' commercials
Basically, they're just putting a mini-tower in the airplane which passengers on the airplane would hit instead of the ones on the ground. This mini-tower would then focus the calls onto certain towers on the ground so that the cell phones aren't hitting multiple towers at once (which is what would happen if you used a cell phone on a plane right now).
Sounds great, but there's one thing I noticed... look at all of the carriers that they are currently partnered with: Alltel, Western Wireless and U.S. Cellular. All of these carriers are CDMA, and as Jason pointed out a few posts earlier, we all love
CDMA :roll:. Hopefully they work something out so that phones based on the GSM network will be able to take advantage of this service.
Issues aside, it'll be interesting to see how this turns out. AirCell is planning for a 2004 release, but ultimately it's up to the FAA, FCC and the airlines.
Using a cell phone in the sky would be pretty neat, but at their $1/minute estimate I think I'll just wait till the plane lands.