As this confusing story conveys, the use of cell phones on airplanes is not the safety no-no we've all been led to believe it is. We're talking aircraft that fly through lightning storms, so a few more waves of energy need not send the craft corkscrewing into the ground.
The ban on airplane cell use has always been more about keeping the cell system working properly than safety. The genius of the cell system is that each cell "hands off" calls to other cells as the caller moves around. When you make a cell call from the ground you basically hit one cell tower, then another, then another in serial fashion. But get up in the air and make a call and you might light up all the cells in, say, Denver. Hundreds or thousands of people doing that in flight could choke the system down, no one really knows.
But with the airlines struggling for any revenue source there is great promise in charging passengers a fee for some sort of access code to the plane's "cell router." These are the guys that charged $5 to rent crappy headphones so anything is possible.