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Bharti Airtel arm applies for license to use connectivity services on flight

PW Bureau

HCIL, in February, became the first company to be given the green light for the in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) licence in India by the Telecom Department

New Delhi: Indo Teleports, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel which has been seeking the much-awaited in-flight connectivity licence, has approached the Telecom Department for the permit that enables service providers to offer data and connectivity services to Indian and foreign carriers, sources said. The proposal put forth by Indo Teleports is currently being examined, sources aware of the development said. Airtel has not made any comment in this regard.

HCIL first Indian company to get IFMC license

Hughes Communications India (HCIL), in February, became the first company to be given the green light for in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) licence in India by the Telecom Department. This was after the government notified rules for in-flight, maritime mobile phone services in December.

Tatanet Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nelco, earlier this month declared that it had received in-flight, maritime connectivity licence from the government.

"The IFMC licence will make it possible to have uninterrupted access to voice, data and video services while also travelling on aircrafts, sailing vessels, cruise liners etc in India, using satellite technology," Nelco had then said in a statement.

23,000 aircraft to have in-flight connection by 2027

More than 23,000 commercial aircraft will provide in-flight connectivity to passengers by 2027, an increase from 7,400 carriers in 2017, according to Euroconsult. In fact, by the end of the year, broadband VSAT (very small aperture terminal) connectivity will be installed on one out of every three commercial aircraft, Northern Sky Research's Aeronautical SatCom Market's 2017 report estimated.