Qantas To Evaluate In-flight Cell Phones

Qantas Airways said this afternoon that it will evaluate new technology to permit the use of wireless devices and cell phones inflight, in a three month trial next year on Australian domestic routes. Qantas said that it is teaming up with Telstra, Lake Forest-based Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and AeroMobile for a trial of the service. The airline said that it will operate the trial on Boeing 767 aircraft, and allow for calls through Picocell mobile cellular base stations designed for air use, in conjunction with satellite links to ground stations. The service will support SMS or reception of calls using GSM phones and a global roaming account, and also support GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) for laptop data access.