On April 7, 2008, the European Commission adopted a recommendation (2008/295/CE) and a decision (2008/294/CE) harmonizing the conditions under which GSM services can be offered on board airplanes in flight in the European Union's airspace. With a view to implementing this European measure in French law, the French telecoms regulator, l'Autorité de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP) held a public consultation on two draft decisions from September 10 to October 3, 2008. These decisions define the framework for using frequencies on board aircraft within national airspace at altitudes over 3000 meters. ARCEP received eight contributions in response to the consultation: from operators on board Aeromobile and OnAir aircraft, from the satellite operator Inmarsat, from the company Halys, from the three Metropolitan terrestrial mobile operators Bouygues Telecom, France Telecom-Orange, and SFR, and from one individual. The summary of the public consultation is accessible on the ARCEP website, www.arcep.fr.
After examining all the contributions it received, ARCEP adopted on November 13, 2008 two decisions which will take effect following approval by the Electronic Communications Minister. Implementation of the European measure will be complete when the Government adopts the decree defining the obligations applicable to electronic communications operators providing mobile communications services on board aircraft registered in France, regardless of the country flown over. At that point, airlines wishing to do so will be permitted to offer GSM services on board their planes.