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Jan 22, 2018 09:44 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Telecom operators oppose TRAI recommendations of new licensees for in-flight services

The Cellular Operators Association of India has said that existing on ground spectrum licences are sufficient for providing in-flight connectivity.

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Indian telecom companies have opposed TRAI's recommendation of creation of a separate licensee category for offering in-flight communication services, according to a report by The Economic Times.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents all major telecom operators in the country, said that existing mobile phone operators are best placed to provide them.

The telecom operators' body, however, welcomed the recommendation to allow internet and mobile services in flights.

COAI director general Rajan Mathews said, "We do not support any separate category of in-flight connectivity (IFC) service provider".

The telecom operators' body said IFC should only be permitted for licensed spectrum or bandwidth which is currently being used for mobile phone services. The COAI also opposed regulator's suggestions to use airwaves that are currently being used for satellite services.

"We have on ground spectrum licences and they are sufficient for providing in-flight connectivity," Mathews told the newspaper.

TRAI had on Friday recommended internet access through Wi-Fi be allowed in flight. It had also recommended allowing passengers to make calls once the aircraft reaches an altitude of 3,000 meters.

In August 2017, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had sought views from TRAI, over proposal to introduce voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and overflying flights in Indian air space.

In turn, the regulator had 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.
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