Get ready to make calls and browse the internet mid-air

Indian Government clears the proposal to make calls and browse the internet mid-air

Indian Government clears the proposal to make calls and browse the internet mid-air

Now you can make calls and browse the internet mid-air. In a major breakthrough, the government of India has cleared the much-awaited proposal to allow calls and internet services on the aircraft. Fliers no longer need to switch their phones to airplane mode. The service will be rolling out over next three to four months.

Telecom Commission headed by Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan approved the move. Fliers can now use their smartphone once the aircraft achieves a height of 3,000 meters.

TRAI approves the proposal to make calls and browse the internet mid-air

Earlier TRAI had approved the move to enable fliers to make calls and browse the internet mid-air. TRAI had approved the moved after the department of telecom had sought views of the TRAI last year. The proposal was to introduce voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and overflying flights. TRAI also mentioned that for mobile services, there should be flexibility to IFC service providers in terms of use of technology and frequencies inside the aircraft cabin that should be consistent with international standards.

Sundararajan said, “The services can be rolled out over the next 3-4 months as arrangements will need to be made between telecom companies, airlines and other intermediaries involved in the process.”

Fliers will need to pay more who wants to make calls and browse the internet mid-air. The real question lies in how successful will this move be? Generally, domestic flights are for a shorter duration. Expecting fliers to pay more to avail the services would mean an additional burden on them. Certainly, the connectivity will cost the telcos more which would mean higher rates for mid-air services. During domestic flights, business and first-class passengers may opt more for this service. I do not expect economy class passengers to be opting for the service. With time the aggressive competition among the telcos might lead to lower tariffs.