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ANRCTI Provides for Using the GSM Communications Technology on Board of Aircrafts

19.11.2007

Today, November 19, 2007, the National Regulatory Authority for Communications and Information Technology launches for public consultation the draft decision completing the Decision of the President of the Inspectorate General for Communications and Information Technology no.686/2005 on the approval of the Tariff Calculation Procedure and of the List of Spectrum Usage Tariffs to be paid to IGCTI, on an annual basis.

The draft decision launched for public consultation today provides for the use of mobile communications services on board of aircrafts, during the flight. This was possible following the adoption of the Decision of the Electronic Communications Committee ECC/DEC/(06)07 on the harmonised use of airborne GSM systems in the frequency bands 1710-1785 and 1805-1880 MHz (allocated for the cellular telephony system DCS 1800), within the ECC assembly in Nicosia, in November 2006.

The possibility to use the GSM system on board of aircrafts will contribute to enhancing individual mobility, as it enables the passengers to communicate with their family, friends or business partners during the flight, thus closing the communication gap caused especially by long flights.

The system requires the installation of a base station on board, where the mobile terminal is connected, station that prevents high power transmissions and provides a link with the terrestrial mobile telephone networks, via satellite. At the beginning, the only services available on board shall be voice and SMS. This is a very accessible system, the users benefiting from mobile communications on board of aircrafts as easily as they do it on ground.

The calling manner is similar to roaming the calling party must dial the country code of the called party, and then the respective telephone number. Tariffs shall be charged based on the roaming agreements concluded by the operators authorised for the provision of mobile communications on board of aircrafts with the mobile telephony operators in each country.

At the European level, two operators submitted requests AEROMOBILE (Norway) and ONAIR (Switzerland), which have already been authorised in several EU countries. Aeromobile has been authorised, by ANRCTI, for the provision of public electronic communications services on board of aircrafts over the Romanian territory, whereas ONAIR submitted the authorisation file to ANRCTI.

The licences for the use of the spectrum in this system shall be issued occasionally, for the beginning, for a maximum period of 6 months and upon advance payment. So far, such occasional licences have been granted by most of the EU countries, among which Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy etc.

As this service will be provided by frequency bands that have already been allocated to mobile telephony operators, ANRCTI had a consultation with the involved operators Vodafone, Orange and Cosmote at the beginning of 2007, when they discussed issues regarding the system implementation, the licences, the frequency bands and the tariff charged by ANRCTI for using the GSM channels to be assigned for this purpose. The draft decision lunched by ANRCTI for consultation proposes a EUR9 tariff for one GSM channel assigned, at the national level, for use on board of aircrafts.

The draft Decision of the President of the National Regulatory Authority for Communications and Information Technology amending the Decision of the Inspectorate General for Communications and Information Technology no.686/2005 on the approval of the Tariff Calculation Procedure and of the List of Spectrum Usage Tariffs to be paid to IGCTI, on an annual basis, is available for consultation on the ANRCTI website. The interested persons are invited to send their comments and suggestions by 20.12.2007, to the ANRCTI headquarters (14 Libertatii Blvd., sector 5, Bucharest) or directly to the ANRCTI registration office, as well as to its territorial offices from the closest county capital city. Comments may be sent as well by fax to +40 21 307 54 02 or by e-mail to consultare@anrcti.ro.