Wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. and Boeing Co.'s Connexion said on Monday they would test in-flight mobile phone calls with the aim of offering the service in 2006.
Connexion, which already provides wireless laptop Internet services in airplane cabins, hopes to provide in-flight wireless voice and data services if regulators give the go-ahead.
The tests will be conducted through September in a specially equipped Boeing 737-400 aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration told lawmakers last month that substantial challenges remained to the in-flight use of mobile phones even if communications regulators eased a ban currently in place.
Boeing's archrival Airbus said last month that it was working with Germany's Siemens to develop technology that would make ordinary mobile phone calls possible for in-flight passengers by 2006.
Connexion has said it expects to start selling cellular phone services to airline passengers as early as next year, though some surveys have shown some customers object to the idea of voice calls in close cabins.
Qualcomm sells technology licenses and chips for mobile phones based on CDMA, the dominant cellphone standard in the United States. Source