updated 10:56 am EST, Fri November 8, 2013
Service could allow high-altitude phone calls via own phone number
Inflight Wi-Fi provider Gogo is working on a way to allow users to make and receive voice calls and messages through their own phone number while in the middle of the flight. The Gogo Text & Talk service would in theory allow passengers to use the two functions of their phone that cannot currently be used during a flight, due to current flying safety regulations.
Using an app for iOS or Android, the service would need to be set up before boarding in order to confirm ownership of the number, reports Engadget. While the FAA has allowed for devices to be used at takeoff and landing, Gogo's Internet connection isn't available until at least 10,000 feet, so potential users will still have to wait until then.
A launch date for the Gogo Talk & Text service has not yet been set, though when it is launched, it is thought that airlines will try to resist allowing voice calls, which could likely force the service to be rebranded "Gogo Text", at least in the United States. Potential pricing wasn't disclosed either, but it is possible that Gogo may roll it into its existing Wi-Fi Internet service as an optional extra.