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MCA - Mobile Communications on board Aircraft

Mobile Communications on board Aircraft (MCA) refers to a service whereby passsengers can use their mobile phone on board an aircraft.

A miniature cellular network is installed inside the aircraft. Mobile phones can connect to this network. Voice and data traffic is transmitted to a satellite that routes the traffic to a ground station. From there, the traffic is routed to the usual telephone network.

The service is only allowed above a certain flight level (3000 meter in Europe) to reduce the interference to terrestrial cellular networks.

The network can be used for both originating and terminating calls. A call is made in the same way as on the ground when roaming abroad. Mobile phones connect to a miniature cellular network installed inside this aircraft. A modem transmits data and calls to a satellite that routes them to a ground station. Data and calls are then routed to the passengerís usual telephone network. The cellular network is located inside the aircraft. Passengersí mobile phones only emit at minimum power, which does not risk harmful interference with aircraft avionics or ground telecoms network. . Phones are used just like on the ground. To make a call on board the aircraft, passengers simply dial the international prefix (+) or 00 + country code + full number (without the 0).


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