CANBERRA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Australians could soon be able to use their mobile phones in flight after the latest ruling from the national communications watchdog, local media reported on Friday.
Phones were banned on board flights because of their potential to interfere with navigational equipment but new technology has changed that.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has now approved phone use after consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
"This particular technology, which was the one applied for, has been approved and that will give the optionally, if you like, to the airlines," ACMA spokesman Chris Chapman told ABC News.
Chapman on Friday said a special on-board system that relays mobile signals must be installed, but that system cannot carry more than one signal provider, which means phone use could be limited to customers of one telecommunications network.
The pico-cell control unit blocks on-board mobile handsets from receiving signals from terrestrial base stations and the pico-cell acts as a base station and transmits to terrestrial networks via satellite.
So far, only one carrier, Aeromobile, a subsidiary of Norwegian telco Telenor, is able to provide the service, which will cost users international roaming charges despite the communications taking place in domestic skies.