Airline passengers in the European Union (EU) will soon be able to use their phones to full effect in the sky.
The European Commission ruled airlines can provide 5G technology on board planes, alongside slower mobile data.
This could mean flyers will no longer be required to put their phone on airplane mode – though the specifics of how it will be implemented are unclear.
The deadline for member states to make the 5G frequency bands available for planes is 30 June 2023.
Hence, people can use all their phone’s features mid-flight – enabling calls as well as data-heavy apps that stream music and video.
Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, said the plan would “enable innovative services for people” and help European companies grow.
“The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” he said.
Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, told the BBC that airplane mode was historically important due to a lack of knowledge about how mobile devices affect aircraft.
“There was a concern they could interfere with automatic flight control systems,” he said.
“What has been found with experience is the risk of interference is very small. The recommendation has always been that once you are in flight, devices should be in in airplane mode.”