The government is in the final stage to make in-flight connectivity in Indian airlines a reality. And if everything goes according to the plan it will be available within two months from now.
According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the govt is looking into in-flight connectivity licence norms and the service option will be given to carriers and telecom companies within two months.
It is still to get clearance from the Law Ministry. Once the approval is given, the decision will be taken on the allocation of services to telecom operators and airlines, said an ET report quoting an official. Both telecom operator and airlines have shown interest in offering services.
Earlier, TRAI suggested to allow international airlines to offer voice and data services. It asked to provide in-flight service connectivity licences at Re 1 annually. Telecom Commission has accepted all the suggestions except to allow foreign satellites and gateways to provide connectivity in aircraft.
As per industry experts, this will require more investment from both parties and time to be a reality on the ground.
In May this year, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said that the government is accelerating the process and within 3 months it should be ready.
In January, TRAI issued recommendations to allow both telephony and Internet services on domestic flights. As part of the in-flight connectivity proposal, the Telecom Commission will initially allow Wi-Fi on flights and slowly get into voice services as well.
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. 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.