Surfing the net while flying in India will become a reality soon, with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, or BSNL, getting a licence for inflight internet connectivity.
Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, on Wednesday announced that BSNL, which is its Indian telecommunications partner, has received an In-Flight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) license from the Indian Government’s Department of Telecommunications.
This marks a major step for Inmarsat’s services in the Indian connectivity market, the company said.
Inflight Internet Services Later This Year
“BSNL is now approved to offer IFMC services, which will include Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (Ka-band) and SwiftBroadband and FleetBroadband (L-band) services, to Indian airlines operating within and outside India, as well as foreign airlines transiting through Indian airspace, and shipping companies operating within Indian waters,” a company statement said.
Inmarsat and BSNL are expected to commence inflight internet services later this year once the ground infrastructure and associated approvals are in place.
Inmarsat owns and operates the award-winning GX Aviation service, which enables passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and much more during their flights, with connectivity comparable to mobile broadband services on the ground.
This was the world’s first and only global, high-speed inflight internet service, delivered through a single, wholly-owned and operated network of high-throughput satellites, Inmarsat said.
GX Aviation is already being used by world leading airlines, such as Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air New Zealand.
Inflight As Well As Maritime Services
BNSL and Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Value Added Resellers (VARs) will be able to offer the world-leading inflight Wi-Fi experience to domestic customers in India. The license will also benefit foreign airlines transiting through in Indian airspace and flying to and from Indian airport hubs.
In the maritime sector, Inmarsat operates its award-winning (Ka-band) Fleet Xpress service with unlimited FleetBroadband (L-Band) back-up, which is now installed on over 6,000 vessels and has emerged as the market-leading pathway to digitalisation in the shipping industry and is helping world-leading shipowners and managers deliver improved vessel and fleet efficiency, boost profitability and enhance seafarer wellbeing.
“BSNL and Inmarsat have worked together closely for decades and this announcement further strengthens our relationship, expanding our partnership from GSPS to GX services. This (is) an exciting step, particularly for India’s fast-growing aviation sector. Soon airlines and their passengers will be able to reap the benefits of world-leading, seamless, high-speed connectivity,” said BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava.
According to Managing Director of Inmarsat India Gautam Sharma, “This issuing of this license is a key milestone in bringing reliable, high-speed connectivity services to India’s maritime and aviation industries and customers”.
“India is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world for air travel, with annual passenger numbers consistently increasing. The provision of Inmarsat’s next-generation GX Aviation service and Fleet Xpress will be a game-changer for both Indian and foreign airlines operating in the region and for shipping companies operating in Indian waters,” Sharma said.