A Bharti Group company, Indo Teleports, has approached the Telecom Department for in-flight connectivity licence, that allows service providers to offer connectivity and data services to Indian and foreign airlines, sources said. Sources privy to the development told PTI that Indo Teleports, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has applied to the Telecom Department for the said licence and that the proposal is currently under examination.
Airtel, however, declined to comment to a detailed questionnaire sent in this regard. Last month, Hughes Communications India (HCIL) became the first company to be granted the in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) licence in the country by the Telecom Department, after the government notified rules for in-flight, maritime mobile phone services in December last year.
On March 6, Tatanet Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nelco, announced that it had obtained in-flight, maritime connectivity licence from the government.
"...the IFMC licence will make it possible to have uninterrupted access to voice, data and video services while also travelling on aircraft, sailing vessels, cruise liners etc in India, using satellite technology," Nelco had then said in a statement.
According to Euroconsult, over 23,000 commercial aircraft will offer connectivity to their passengers by 2027, up from 7,400 aircraft in 2017. Northern Sky Research's Aeronautical SatCom Market's 2017 report predicts that by the end of 2019, broadband VSAT (very small aperture terminal) connectivity will be installed on one out of every three commercial passenger aircraft, and will rise to two out of every three by the end of 2026.