Soon, make calls, surf Internet while flying

The facility is expected to be made available to travellers in four months.

New Delhi: Soon you will be able to make calls and surf the Internet while flying. The Telecom Commission on Tuesday approved a proposal to allow mobile calls and Internet services in domestic and international flights in India.

The department of telecom hopes this will be available to travellers within three to four months. People travelling on ships too will be able to use this facility.

Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the panel’s decision will be operational “immediately”.

“The facility is expected to be rolled out in 3-4 months, once the modalities of these niche licences and back-end agreements are worked out,” said Ms Sundararajan, who also heads the Telecom Commission.

On what this would cost passengers, the secretary said the price would have to be worked out on a mutually-agreed basis between service providers and the airlines. A separate category of licences will be created for this service.

“It will also provide for connectivity on ships in Indian territorial waters,” she said.

It will also boost the revenue of airlines.

It may be noted that globally, many airlines already offer wi-fi services, but they now have to switch it off when they enter Indian airspace.

Meanwhile, in a major relief to consumers, the panel also cleared proposal for an ombudsman under Trai as recommended by the regulator.

Besides present mechanism of registering complaint with telecom operators, an unsatisfied consumer can now approach consumer courts seeking relief for their grievances and thereafter also approach ombudsman for redressal of their complaints.

“Ombudsman will be created by Trai. Trai had said they do not have powers to create them. Therefore it is now proposed to give them the powers to create an ombudsman...This will bring in much better and more satisfactory grievance redressal system,” Ms Sundararajan said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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