I believe that T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, and Verizon operate in the PCS band
which is 1.9 - 2 GHz. NexTel and others may operate in the 800 MHz band,
so we're talking about different propagation techniques and capacity for
intermod with aircraft VHF.
I will say that in all my years of flying I've never seen someone sneaking
a cell call. I think this is because at high altitude a cell phone may be
incapable of receiving a strong enough signal and transmitting one back.
Would one or two watts at 2GHz make it over 5-6 miles to ground to
antennas which are optimized for ground signals? I'm thinking how
difficult it is with WiFi without high gain antennas.
I have noticed that different cell phone vendors seem to have more of a
propensity for "getting in" to other equipment such as car stereos and
desk phones. I'm not sure why this would be.
I have to confess that on occassion I've forgotten to turn off my phone.
When I would notice, I would see no cell signal, and this was sometimes
over or near metro areas.
RFI mailing list