The use of mobiles on planes flying in European airspace has been given approval by UK regulator Ofcom. It has issued plans that will allow airlines to offer mobile services on UK-registered aircraft.
The decision means that mobiles could be used once a plane has reached an altitude of 3,000m or more.
But airlines keen to offer the services must still satisfy other regulators about how the hardware will be used.
Ofcom’s decision comes out of a consultation exercise that began in October 2007.
The decision to offer the services now falls to individual airlines. However, there are other regulatory hurdles to overcome before the technology is considered to be fully approved.
The European Aviation Safety Agency needs to approve any hardware that would be installed in aircraft to ensure that it did not interfere with other flight systems.