You can now use 3G and 4G LTE while flying in Europe

Airplane over ocean.

The European Commission has just decided that they will allow the use of 3G and 4G networks vis-a-vis mobile devices during flights. This goes above and beyond the ability to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing — this means you no longer need to put your devices in airplane mode while flying if you want to use them.

The decision only affects flights that are in Europe’s airspace, and so it isn’t clear how it will work when it comes to intercontinental flights; it may be the case that the use of the networks may not be available once in, say, North America or Asia. That being the case, the rules in North America, for instance, are starting to change, with the possibility of using electronic devices during takeoff and landing but in airplane mode. So you never know when the rules will relax even further in North America and other parts of the world.

The news of these upcoming changes have been somewhat divisive. Some feel it be more annoying to have to listen to other people’s calls, especially in such a confined space, while others look at the positive side, which include being able to do business on planes now, deal with emergencies, etc. I just want to know: will I get signal 30,000 feet in the air?

[via engadget, image via The-Lane-Team’s flickr]

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