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in-flight connectivity

TRAI allows access to internet and mobile phone services on flights

in-flight connectivity

Allowing in-flight connectivity (IFC) in Airlines, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a recommendation has said that air passengers will now be permitted to access mobile telephony and internet services on flights.

Both the domestic and international carrier passengers would be able to make calls and web surfing after an aircraft fly above the minimum height of 3000 meters, stated TRAI release.

The internet services will be allowed through Wi-Fi onboard. For calling services, the airplane/flight mode on the phone will have to be kept off, although usually it is kept on during onboard flight.

A separate category of IFC service provider should be created to permit IFC services in Indian airspace where service provider should be required to get itself registered with the DoT, added the release.

The requirements like Unified Licensee having Internet Service (Category ‘A’) authorization should be same for both Indian registered and foreign registered airlines for offering IFC services in Indian airspace.

The IFC service provider would be permitted to use either INSAT systems or foreign satellites outside INSAT systems in the Indian airspace.

Also Read: After cabs, Ola offers WiFi service in auto-rickshaws

The IFC service provider should be imposed a flat annual licence fee of token amount of Rs 1 or it may be reviewed later. However, there should not be any difference in the charges to be levied for domestic and foreign airlines in Indian airspace.

The regulator said IFC providers should have the flexibility within Ku, Ka and L bands. IFC services in Indian airspace should be made applicable to all types of aircrafts such as commercial airlines, business jets, executive aircrafts.

Meanwhile, the in-flight connectivity issue was earlier taken by the aviation department with the government, but it was deliberated by aviation ministry as it was felt there is no security issue in allowing Wi-Fi as voice and data can be tracked.

At present, no Indian carrier has Wi-Fi facility on board.

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