The telecom department is all set to allow in-flight calls and internet services on airplanes in India by October end this year.
The Department of Telecommunications(DoT) has said that they are in the final stages of in-flight connectivity license norms and the service option will be given to carriers and telecom companies within two months
DoT has largely followed all recommendations put forth by the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI) in terms of drafting guidelines. After the department clear the plan, an estimated two weeks will be required for the Law Ministry’s approval.
There have been meetings with both telecom operators and airlines and some players have shown interest in offering the services.
In January 2018, TRAI issued recommendations to allow both calling 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. It is expected that consumers will need to pay an additional fee to avail these in-flight services, however, telecom companies may gradually throw-in bundled packages to attract frequent fliers.
While there is no immediate clarity on pricing of such services, analysts say that it could be much higher than the rates for mobile services on the ground. This is because airlines will have to make an initial investment to install the equipment required to support in-flight connectivity.