Why were mobile phones banned in-flight until now?

Mobile phones were previously banned on aircraft because they could connect to, or attempt to connect to a terrestrial network during the flight, and by doing so, start to radiate at their maximum power exceeding levels acceptable in the aeronautical environment. Transmitting at this high power could create harmful interference to the avionics and terrestrial cellular networks.

OnAir service on-board ensures that mobile phones will not attempt to connect to terrestrial networks as this service creates a local GSM cell network inside the aircraft. OnAir service has received the approval of aviation authorities and over a million passengers have already flown on OnAir equipped flights.

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