Orange, Cellcom to launch on-flight phone service Dec. 17

Orange and Cellcom announced on Tuesday that on December 17 they will launch a phone plan allowing customers to receive limited service during flights on certain carriers. The service comes after both companies signed a deal with OnAir, a swiss cell phone company which specializes in on-flight service, and will be introduced on Air France flights to Europe before expanding to other carriers throughout 2008. The service will be offered in two stages. Initially, customers will be able to send sms and mms messages, surf the internet on the phone, and connect to the internet through wireless laptops. In the second stage, which is to be implemented three months later, customers will be able to make phone calls from the plane. According to Cellcom, the cost of the service will be similar to that of roaming charges. Incoming SMS messages will be free, outgoing messages will cost NIS 1.70, and surfing on the internet will cost NIS 10 for every 100 k/byte. The rates for Orange will be published in the coming month.