Trai recommends allowing mobile network services during air travel

CIOL Writers
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Trai recommends allowing mobile network service during air travel

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI) recommended allowing mobile phone calls and internet services during the time of air travel.


The regulatory board has put forward certain recommendations that need to be followed before enjoying IFC. The major highlights include ensuring that the operation of MCA services should be permitted with a minimum height restriction of 3,000 meters in Indian airspace for its compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks. It also includes making sure that Internet Services through Wi-Fi onboard should be made available when electronic devices are permitted to use only in-flight / airplane mode.

“The authority recommends that both, Internet and Mobile Communication on Aircraft (MCA) service should be permitted as In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in the Indian airspace,” TRAI said in its recommendations on 'In-Flight Connectivity' (IFC). The recommendation will go to the telecom ministry for further decision and implementation of the services will happen soon.

The regulator recommended the creation of an IFC Service Provider for IFC services at an annual license fee of Rs 1 only initially, after entering into an arrangement with telecom licensee holder having appropriate authorisation.


The regulator said that the IFC service provider should be permitted to use either INSAT systems (Indian Satellite System or foreign satellite capacity leased through Department of Space) or foreign satellites outside INSAT systems in the Indian airspace.

"The deployment of a gateway in India provides an effective mechanism to lawfully intercept and monitor the in-cabin Internet traffic while the aircraft is in Indian airspace. Therefore, the onboard Internet traffic must be routed to a Satellite Gateway on Indian soil," Trai recommended.

It further added that routing of traffic through satellite gateway in India should be imposed regardless of whether the satellite in question is an Indian satellite or not.