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Indian Flights to Allow Web Surfing and Phone Calls

The Indian Telecom Commission on Tuesday gave a nod to the proposal to allow access to internet and phone calls whilst in airplane. Air passengers will soon be able to make calls and browse the internet while flying in Indian airspace. The commission will allow mobile phone calls and internet services in domestic and international flights in India.

Indian Flights to Allow Web Surfing and Phone Calls 

Tuesday, 1st May, 2018 

The Indian Telecom Commission on Tuesday gave a nod to the proposal to allow access to internet and phone calls whilst in airplane. Air passengers will soon be able to make calls and browse the internet while flying in Indian airspace. The commission will allow mobile phone calls and internet services in domestic and international flights in India. 

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted,”Air passengers to soon have access to Wi-Fi onboard aircrafts; exciting times ahead in Indian skies”. 



 The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) accepted all the recommendations and the procedure to initialize the new service will start soon and come into play within a couple of months. 

This is what Aruna Sundararajan; Telecom Secretary had to say, 

Calling and texting from aircraft will soon become a reality as the Telecom Commission on Tuesday has approved in-flight connectivity, facilitating both voice and data calls and data surfing in Indian airspace”, Sundararajan said. She also added that, “there were only two exceptions to TRAI's recommendations. The sector regulator said that foreign satellites and foreign gateways should also be permitted, but there had been an earlier committee of secretaries meeting that decided that it should be an Indian satellite or a Department of Space approved satellite and the gateway should be in India." 



 How will this come into play? 

The Telecom Commission will have to create a separate category of licensee, called In-Flight Connectivity Provider; this will also be applicable for ships. Re 1 will be the token licence fee and making calls will be allowed once an aircraft reaches an altitude of 3,000 meters. For making calls, the airplane mode in the phone will have to be kept off, although usually it is kept on during the duration of the flight. 

The Telecom Commission will now make the necessary amendments to the relevant laws to create a separate category of licences for in-flight connectivity operators, which could be telecom service providers. After making the amendments, the department will invite applications from those interested in providing these services. Once the modalities of the licences and the back-end agreements are worked out, the facility can be rolled out in about three to four months. 



Globally, while the provision of onboard Wi-Fi is a popular service with airlines, not many allow mobile communication. As per TRAI, over 30 airlines allow the use of mobile phone on aircraft, including Air Asia, Air France, British Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Further, more than 40 jurisdictions, including countries in the European Union, Asia and Australia, have authorized the use of mobile communications services on aircraft. 

 The proposal will enable not only Indian airlines but also their foreign counterparts to offer connectivity in Indian air territory.   
WiFi On board
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Sandeep Semwal
Content Writer
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