Domestic airlines to offer mail, calls on board soon

Checking an urgent mail or making a phone call mid-air will soon be a possibility.

Checking an urgent mail or making a phone call mid-air will soon be a possibility. The Telecom Commission on Monday gave its approval for a proposal allowing mobile phone calls and internet services in domestic and international flights on Indian airspace.

This could turn into a reality in the next 3-4 months with officials saying that they would soon work out the modalities of niche licences and back-end agreements. The Commission has also given its approval for such services on ships.

The Telecom Commission, the highest decision making body of telecom department, headed senior IAS officer Aruna Sundararajan, also approved Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Ttai) recommendations on internet telephony besides setting up of an ombudsman for better consumer grievance redressal system under the TRAI Act at a meeting here.

The aviation industry has been demanding that they be allowed to provide Wi-Fi on board like international airlines do. The move is expected to provide domestic airlines additional revenues.

With restrictions in place, fliers are not allowed to use mobile phones and internet when they are in the Indian airspace. International airlines offering such facility, at present, have to switch off the facility in Indian airspace.

“Exciting times ahead in the Indian skies as Telecom Commission approves data and voice services in flights over Indian airspace. I will follow up closely to ensure earliest implementation. We remain committed in improving the services to our air passengers, making their travel delightful and hassle-free,” Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Prabhu said the government will now work towards creating the licence framework for a special category of service providers called in-flight connectivity providers.

“This mean airlines are equipped to bring dramatic, yet cost-effective enhancements to passenger experience with passengers ordering goods from their phones and have them delivered on arrival at their homes,” Prabhu said.

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Domestic airlines to offer mail, calls on board soon

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