HA NOI — Vinaphone has become the first mobile operator in Viet Nam to provide in-flight mobile-phone services on domestic and international air routes.
However, passengers must turn off their phones during take off and landing to avoid electro-magnetic interference with the plane's navigational equipment. Phone interference has been blamed for crashes in the past.
The fee is U$$4.3 for outgoing calls and $4.7 for incoming calls.
Phones on planes have been around in other parts of the world for more than 20 years.
They included the introduction of Airfone services in the US based on radio technology.
Emirates Airline became the first air carrier to allow mobile phones on its aircraft in 2007.
While the cost of sending a SMS message (short message service) is $80 cents, receiving messages is free, said a company spokesman.
The in-flight service is available on many domestic and international flights, including Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Etihad Airways (UAE), Libyan Arab Airlines, EgyptAir, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines (Jordan), Saudi Arabian Airlines and TAM (Brazil).
The mobile service provider said it was negotiating with more airlines to provide the service. Internet access services will also be provided soon.
To use the service, Vinaphone subscribers need to open the international roaming function on their phones and inform cabin crew before departure. — VNS