The DoT had asked TRAI in August for recommendations on licensing terms and provision of in-flight connectivity for voice, data and video services.

Soon you may be able to access data services on domestic flights
Atom Telecom Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 21:46

You could soon be using your mobile phone or tablet or laptop during your flight right up in the sky, to check mails or even make voice calls using a data connection, if the Indian Telecom Ministry has its way. It may only be made available for the passengers on domestic flights. The proposal is currently with the Telecom Commission which works under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and if it approves the proposal in its next meeting to be held soon, then this could become a reality.

“We have taken approvals from all (including ministry of home affairs)... we will initially allow data services but slowly get into voice services also,” Hindustan Times quotes a source as saying.

The mandatory security approvals from the Home Ministry have already been obtained, reports states. The airlines could then be permitted to offer these services to their passengers. The airlines would be free to fix the prices for providing the services on board.

As far as the service providers are concerned, the other existing models, like for providing telecom and internet services, will be followed with regard to licensing policies etc. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already considered the issue and given its recommendations relating to the licence fee to be charged and the other terms and conditions under which the service on board domestic flights can be allowed to be provided.

If one goes by the revenue accruing to the government, it ranges from 3% to 6% as the licensing fee and 8% towards spectrum usage. The quantum to be fixed for both for the on-board internet and voice services will be known later, though TRAI has, in its recommendations to the Ministry, suggested a token licensing fee of One Rupee only. A decision regarding which satellite the service providers can utilize, INSAT or any foreign satellite will also be made along with the other policy decisions.

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