In-flight Wi-Fi in India For One-Way Trip to Cost Rs 1,000 Approx

Airline companies will have to decide on pricing the internet plans, which needs to be affordable to succeed.

Tech News
2 min read
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High satellite bandwidth charges are likely to play a spoiler in the uptake of in-flight mobile services in India as these would make the facility costlier by 30-50 times at Rs 700-1,000 for a two-hour journey, says an industry official.

The chief technology officer of broadband technology firm Hughes India, K Krishna, told PTI that satellite bandwidth charges in India are 7-8 times higher compared to other parts of the world due to the condition that bandwidth can be procured from Indian Space Research Organisation only.

Hughes has applied for a licence for in-flight and maritime connectivity that will allow access to mobile services during air travel and ship voyage within Indian air space and territorial waters.

He said that there is adequate satellite capacity available at very affordable cost for in-flight and maritime mobile services to work.


"The bandwidth will make 70-80 per cent cost of service. At present rates, current tariff will be in the range of Rs 700-1,000 which lot of people are not going to afford if they compare it with routine mobile plans," Krishna said.

He said that global business model of in-flight mobile services works at 10 per cent passengers opting for the service.

"An option to increase uptake is that in-flight service charges are included in air ticket but the tickets are already in the range of Rs 4,000-5,000 and adding charges of IFC service will not be a feasible business model for airlines," Krishna said.

“Passengers are not going to pay 50 times higher price for Internet on a two-hour flight. It has to be extremely affordable and for that to happen open sky mechanism is very much required. You can’t be restrictive that only Indian satellite need to provide capacity. Monopolistic policy won’t work. The policy will become a duck if these issues are not addressed,” Krishna said.

The mobile services in planes will be provided once it attains a height of 3,000 metre. It can be provided through both using telecom networks on ground as well as using satellites.


The Hughes India CTO also said restriction imposed in the licence that an Indian service provider can provide connectivity within Indian airspace and waters would be a disadvantage for both the service provider as well as airlines and shipping firms.

"These are the things which the government needs to relax for healthy uptake of service," Krishna said.

The company expects to get a licence for the service early next month and has started discussion to start service in some of the aircraft, he said.

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