Bharatiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has received a licence from the Department of Telecommunications to provide Internet and mobile services on flights. Till now, flight to, from, over and within India are not able to provide onboard Wi-Fi as the same was not permitted in Indian airspace. While foreign airlines like Lufthansa and Qatar Airways said they want to provide this service here, Indian airlines like SpiceJet have also expressed a desire to provide onboard Wi-Fi. BSNL and its satellite partner, Inmarsat, will be able to offer in-flight connectivity to airlines later this year.
Inmarsat owns and operates the GX Aviation service, which enables passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media during flights. According to the rules, passengers can make phone calls or use the Internet when a flight is at a minimum height of 3,000m in Indian airspace to avoid interference with terrestrial mobile networks.
BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava said: “BSNL and Inmarsat have worked together closely for decades and this announcement further strengthens our relationship, expanding our partnership from GSPS to GX services. This an exciting step, particularly for India’s fast-growing aviation sector. Soon airlines and their passengers will be able to reap the benefits of world-leading, seamless, high-speed connectivity.”
Inmarsat India MD Gautam Sharma said: “This issuing of this license is a key milestone in bringing reliable, high-speed connectivity services to India’s maritime and aviation industries and customers. India is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world for air travel, with annual passenger numbers consistently increasing. The provision of Inmarsat’s next-generation GX Aviation services will be a game-changer for both Indian and foreign airlines operating in the region.” said in a statement.