Trai Gives Green Signal to In-Flight Mobile and Internet Connectivity in India

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The Telecom Regulator Authority of India (Trai) today announced that both internet and mobile connectivity services should be allowed under the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in Indian airspace. Trai stated that "Both, Internet and Mobile Communication on Aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in the Indian airspace." There has been a delay in rolling out IFC in India, but finally, Trai has now approved the connectivity services in flights.

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Trai stated the operation of MCA services should be permitted with a minimum height restriction of 3000 meters in Indian airspace for its compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks. Also, internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to use only in flight mode.

It also stated that a separate category of "IFC Service Provider" should be created to permit IFC services in Indian airspace. The IFC service provider should be required to get itself registered with the DoT, and it need not necessarily be in Indian entity. The IFC service provider is permitted to provide IFC services, after entering into an arrangement with Unified Licensee having appropriate authorisation.

This is one of the long overdue rollouts ever from Trai. Back on August 10, 2017, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has proposed to introduce In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) for voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and overflying flights in Indian Air Space.

DoT had also requested Trai to furnish its recommendations on licensing terms and conditions for the provision of IFC for voice, data and video services and associated issues such as entry fee, license fee, spectrum-related issues including usage charges and method of allocation and other conditions.

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