Lifehacker has been an enthusiastic consumer of on-board Internet and a vaguely interested tester of SMS services, so the news that ACMA has officially approved technology to allow in-flight calls and data in Australia is welcome news. But even if the thought of the loud person sitting next to you also having a mobile fills you with panic, bear in mind it will be some time before any services actually exist.
ACMA has finalised its licensing rules for aircraft offering services, which means airlines can offer voice and data services via special equipment on board planes. However, the arrangement means that you won't be able to directly connect to your existing provider: instead, you'll be routed through a plane-based system (and charged for the privilege).
ACMA's announcement notes that V Australia is already planning to offer a service, and Qantas has run trials of similar systems in the past. Nonetheless, it's likely to be a while before those options actually become available, and even when they do, lots of people will balk at the prices associated, I suspect.