In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) enabling passengers to make calls and access internet services on domestic and international flights in India may happen this or early next week, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Friday.
The central government would issue a notification for this soon, she said. IFC aims at enabling making calls and internet services during flights in the Indian airspace and availability of wi-fi is also expected to provide local airlines an additional source of revenues amid stiff competition in the fast-growing Indian aviation market.
Globally, many airlines are already offering wi-fi for passengers, but they currently have to switch off the facility when they enter the Indian airspace.
"IFC may happen this week or may be early next week because we have already finalised the guidelines. Just the notification is to be issued," Sundararajan told PTI in Bengaluru.
The official said the response from both foreign and domestic airline operators, had been positive as they see it as a competitive strategy to attract customers.
"See a lot of the airline operators have been quite keen on IFC. They see it as a competitive strategy to attract customers. International operators like INMARSAT also are keen to come in and of course, our own local players are there. Definitely, there is lot of interest," she added.
Asked whether IFC would be available at a premium with a free hand to operators on tariff or would the government intervene and fix tariff, the Telecom secretary said India did not have a history of regulators fixing the tariff.
Instead, the tariffs would be fixed by the operators.
However, the final authority would rest on the regulator, she added.
If the prices were going to be high, that will be a question the regulator will have to see at that point of time.
AirAsia, Air France, British Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among 30 airlines that already allow mobile phone use on aircraft. -- PTI