Ericsson Decides To Join Airborne Cellphone Fray

 - October 9, 2006, 2:18 PM

Mobile phone maker Ericsson jumped into the race to supply hardware that will enable passengers to use their cellphones aboard aircraft after takeoff.

Launched at the Paris Air Show last month, the Ericsson RBS 2708 is a 12-MCU piece of hardware designed to communicate with GSM phones through special onboard antennas and existing satcom transceivers. Each Ericsson box will be able to handle 58 simultaneous phone calls, making the technology an appropriate option for airlines. Ericsson officials said applications for business aircraft are also on their minds and they intend to offer versions of the hardware for both markets.

The RBS 2708 system is scheduled to be available commercially by year-end. Ericsson is in “detailed discussions” with potential customers about the hardware package, according to a company spokesman.