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EU approves in-flight 5G services

The European Union said it will enable the “wide-spread deployment of 5G services” on aircraft by designating certain frequencies for in-flight cell-phone connectivity.

The decision will allow airlines to let customers make and receive phone calls, text messages and data just as they would on the ground, the European Commission said in a statement Thursday. Service will be provided using special network equipment called a pico-cell that connect the in-flight network to the ground via a satellite, the statement said.

“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies,” Thierry Breton, the EC’s commissioner for the internal market said in the statement.

The US Federal Communications Commission in 2020 scuttled plans to allow in-flight voice and data services via mobile wireless frequencies, saying that there was strong opposition including from airline pilots and flight attendants on safety and national security grounds. Bloomberg

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