Telecom Companies Resist New Licensees For IFC
Mobile service providers of India have resisted the recommendations of telecom regulator for formation of a different licensee segment for providing in-flight communication facilities, claiming that mobile phone providers are best positioned to offer them. “We do not back any different segment of IFC service supplier,” claimed director general at COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), Rajan Mathews, to the media in an interview. COAI represents all major telecom companies in the country. Mathews made the statement even as he greeted the decision to permit mobile and Internet services in flights.
COAI claimed that IFC (in-flight connectivity) must only be allowed over permitted bandwidth or spectrum, which is presently being employed for mobile phone offerings, thus also contrasting the suggestions of the regulator to employ airwaves presently being employed for satellite offerings. “We have licenses for on ground spectrum and they are enough for offering IFC,” claimed Mathews to the media in an interview.
He claimed that IFC will considerably improve tourism, enhance passenger experience, and drive non-aeronautical incomes for the airline sector. TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) last week had suggested Internet access via Wi-Fi be permitted inside the aircraft. It further added that making calls be permitted as soon as an aircraft reaches a height of 3,000 Meters. TRAI recommended generating licenses for IFC service suppliers. It claimed that foreign telecom providers must be permitted to provide voice offerings in association with a domestic telecom company so that the authorized legal interception need is met. On-board Internet traffic should be directed on Indian soil to a satellite gateway, it claimed.
The regulator also claimed that IFC suppliers must have the suppleness to employ spectrum and technology (inside the Ka, Ku, and L bands) as long as they are reliable with global measures and do not meddle with terrestrial systems. The L-band employs frequencies in the range of 1-2 GHz some of which is presently employed by telecom companies for providing mobile phone offerings. The Ku-band (uses almost 12–18GHz band) and Ka-band (employs the 26.5–40 GHz sector of the spectrum) are utilized in India for satellite communication.
TRAI claimed that as long as the stipulation of the service is theoretically possible and safety concerns can be dealt with, there must be no authoritarian barrier in the provisioning of any of these offerings. The DoT (department of telecom) had wanted the views of regulator on launching data, voice, and video services all across Indian airspace for international, domestic, and overflying flights.