Telecom Commission of India approves in-flight connectivity for both voice and data in Indian airspace

The Telecom Commission has approved in-flight connectivity facilitating both voice and data calls in Indian airspace, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

“Almost all recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on this have been accepted. We are expediting the process (to start) and within 3 months it should be ready,” she told reporters after the meeting on Tuesday.

When TRAI had first introduced the recommendations in August, DoT had recommended them to add provisions related to the kind of in-flight Wi-Fi service that would be provided. This included voice, data and video services. It also asked them to reconsider the entry fee, licence fee and spectrum as well.

The recommendations were again put before the board in September where it was suggested that the licence fee should be Re 1. TRAI said it had arrived at the recommendations after analysing the comments received from consultations and open house discussions on the issue.

Other recommendations included were: IFC (In-flight connectivity) providers should be permitted to use the INSAT or foreign satellites outside INSAT system in Indian airspace, the in-flight Wi-Fi service should be used only when an electronic device is allowed to be used, or an announcement will be made regarding the same.

Apart from this, there were suggestions which included mobile calling services which should be allowed at a height of 3,000 metres if it is compatible with the terrestrial mobile networks.

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