Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Allow mobile use in flights:TRAI

Allow mobile use in flights:TRAI

Travel industry observers have welcomed the Indian telecom regulator's recommendation to allow both Internet access and mobile phone calls on board aircraft in Indian airspace.??

The TRAI also called for establishing a separate category of service provider known as in-flight connectivity (IFC) service provider. "Both internet and mobile communications on board aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity in the Indian airspace", TRAI said in its 12 recommendations. The step is likely to boost revenue for service providers as well as airlines.

The telecom body also recommended that internet services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to be used only in-flight or airplane mode. "It will help companies who want to take part i" it", Mahesh Uppal, CEO of telecom consultancy firm Com First told IANS. It added that the regulatory requirements would be the same for Indian and foreign entities in the picture - airlines as well as service providers. When they (IFC specialist organizations) deal with Unified Licensee having proper authorisation, they can begin giving their administrations.

The decision by TRAI allows airlines to offer these services once they meet security norms.

According to TRAI, over 80% of passengers prefer flying with airlines that offer internet services, and they also expect their connectivity experience to be similar to that of home or office.

The recommendations, which include providing a mechanism for the lawful interception and monitoring of wi-fi in aircraft cabins to ensure safety, were provided to the Department of Telecommunications which will draft the final policy.

At present, many worldwide airlines offer Wi-Fi on board but have steered clear of mobile services as the provision could end up being a nuisance for fellow passengers.

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