India just allowed in-flight connectivity within its airspace

  • Passengers on airlines will soon be able to make calls, send texts and connect to WiFi.
  • The government says the plan will be live in 3-4 months.
  • Pricing of in-flight connectivity will be left up to the airlines.
You may soon be able to make calls and send texts when you’re on a flight in India. The country’s Telecom Commission has approved recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). TRAI had earlier recommended that voice calls, texts and WiFi be allowed on-board flights in India.

Aruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary, stated, “Almost all recommendations by TRAI on this have been accepted. We are expediting the process and within 3-4 months, it should be ready. We will be operationalizing this decision immediately.”

The only exceptions to TRAI’s original recommendation were that instead of foreign satellites and foreign gateways being permitted, an Indian satellite or a satellite that has been approved by the Department of Space would be allowed to operate in Indian airspace.

The TRAI will have to create a separate category of licenses called ‘in-flight connectivity providers’. Aside from airplanes, ships would be eligible to apply as well. The token license fee would be Rs 1, applicable to anyone who wants to operate 3,000 meters above sea level.

In addition to in-flight connectivity, the Telecom Commission has also approved proliferation of broadband through the public Wi-Fi network. a Telecom Ombudsman and 12 major recommendations on the ease of doing business by TRAI.
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