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Soon Aeroplanes will have Wi-Fi facility on Indian flights approved by Telecom

Started by Sudhakar, May 03, 2018, 11:16 AM

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Sudhakar

Wi-Fi facility on Indian flights approved by Telecom Commission

On 1st May, the decision-making body at the telecom department " Telecom Commission approved the application for in-flight internet access for people travelling in India.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan quoted “We will now have to create a separate category of licencees called in-flight connectivity provider. These will provide internet as well as voice services within Indian territorial airspace... in both domestic and international flights.”

As per Sundararajan, the process of drafting licence terms for in-flight connectivity (IFC) providers will soon be started and applications will be summoned and this can take up to three months. At the beginning, an annual licence fee of Re 1 will be paid by IFC providers.

“It is a fabulous decision. Given the nature of my job, I’m constantly travelling and it is my downtime when I take flights, which now I can use more productively. With data availability, I can catch up on work, read online and stay connected,” the MD of Puma India - Abhishek Ganguly quoted.

As long as the user is in Indian airspace, is using an Indian satellite and/or a Department of Space approved satellite for mobile calling and it has an Indian gateway, calling above 3,000m will be allowed. A recommendation to permit foreign satellites and gateways was made by a telecom regulator in January this year.

The cost of these services will be decided as per the current market cost by the telecom department.

According to Neelu Khatri - President of Aerospace at Honeywell India “the pricing would depend on the airline, sometimes it is a part of the ticket and sometimes you areged (rates)... that could start $5-10. Indian airlines will have to see what passengers will be willing to shell out.” Honeywell India is a provider of high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi services to global airlines.

However, as per CAPA Centre for Aviation, such services in domestic flights might not yield as much profit.

“Airlines will have to create a business case for the investment needed. Rough estimates suggest fitting the equipment to provide such services in an aircraft could cost around $400,000-600,000... Airlines will have to see whether the investment is recoverable, what is the cost per minute, etc... Initially, the cost to the passenger may be on the higher side,” Kapil Kaul - CEO and director - CAPA South Asia mentioned.

Also, the belief of telecom industry is that these services might not yield more returns. “As far as the revenue opportunity is concerned, there won’t be high volumes; so we don’t see any big bucks coming,” quoted Rajan Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India.

The proposal by Trai to create broadband through public Wi-Fi hotspots was accepted by Telecom Commission on 1st May. Sundararajan mentioned that “we have asked TRAI to work out an operational framework for this.”

Suggestions by Trai to establish public data offices (PDO) that are same is public call offices were sent to the telecom department in March 2017. These help in offering public Wi-Fi hotspots and the PDOs will propose small data packs that start at a cost as low as Rs 2.

Though these suggestions have been made, it is still unclear if the government will permit resale of data bought telecom or internet service providers by PDO. Data resale permission is needed to boost public Wi-Fi as per R.S. Sharma " Trai Chairman.

Consumers are also relieved to learn of a three-tier building that is led by a telecom regulator to address their grievances. A regulator will be created after amending the present Trai Act.

Sundararajan, on the availability of disciplinary powers, quoted, “This will have to be worked out by TRAI but it will have to be (an) effective ombudsman.”

According to the suggestion by Trai, a telecom regulator needs to be created to address consumer grievances, while having the authority to impose punishment on telecom service providers.

According to the proposal, the company has to address consumer concerns within a set time-frame, when the consumer approaches it. The consumer can go other grievance redressal forums or the regulator if the company does not resolve its issues.

Mathews questioned “the intention is good but a simpler way should be found instead of this three-tier structure. There would also be a cost of setting up redressal offices across the country. And if the mechanism is online, how many people have access to smartphones in India?”

Source : https://www.techgig.com/tech-news/Wi-Fi-facility-on-Indian-flights-approved-by-Telecom-Commission-178012

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