Even Cingular Thinks In-Flight Cellular Is A Bad Idea

    June 16, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A letter from the nation’s largest wireless provider to the FAA advises it to keep the ban in place.

Proposals pushed by Boeing unit Connexion and other prospective in-flight cellular providers shouldn’t get off the ground, according to a USA Today report.

In a June 8 letter to the FAA, Cingular suggested that the existing ban on in-flight cellphone calls should be kept intact. “We believe there is a time and a place for wireless phone conversations, and seldom does that include the confines of an airplane flight.”

It’s an interesting position for Cingular to take. One would expect the company to be in favor of a proposal that would add to its revenues. But a spokesperson for Cingular said the company was responding to concerns from its customers.

The FCC has similar proposals to consider, and that agency’s focus would be on how airborne cellular traffic might interfere with ground-based customers. Cingular and Verizon jointly submitted comments to the FCC on the issue.

In those comments, the two providers said they would support lifting the ban if the interference issue could be resolved. But the FAA’s focus is one safety as a “top priority.”

The existing ban on cellphones comes from a concern that they could interfere with the electronic operations of an airplane. However, due to the lack of privacy on an airplane, there may not be a great demand for cellphone use in-flight.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.