Air traveller sill soon be allowed to surf internet and make calls even when on flight in Indian airspace as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) gave approval for in-flight connectivity (IFC) on Friday.

Soon, the ‘Airplane Mode’ on your phones will be of no use in India as the TRAI has approved and recommended to allow mobile services to passengers when on flight – including mobile calls and internet surfing. On Friday, TRAI said that the in-flight connectivity of both Internet and MCA (mobile communication on aircraft) services should be provided over Indian airspace. TRAI stated that as long as these IFC services are technically feasible and security concerns can be addressed, the airlines should make these services available. However, the final decision has to be taken up by the airline whether they want to provide one or both the services.

If these services will be made available on flight, the TRAI says that making calls will be possible after aircraft reaches minimum altitude of 3,000 meters – which a flight usually gets to within four to five minutes after take-off. TRAI also recommended to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services and suggested that on-board internet surfing could be made available through Wi-Fi in aircrafts. Because internet on flights, which was once seen as a luxurious novelty has now become a necessity and providing internet through Wi-Fi will ensure that there would be no encroachment on the scope of terrestrial Internet service provided by telecom service providers and there will be no non-availability of internet during air-travel either.

Indian domestic airlines have welcomed the idea and said that this approval will help them compete with international carriers, however, they have indicated that the installation of in-flight Wi-Fi would cost them quite a fortune. We hear “extra charges of Wi-Fi”, don’t we? But well, nothing good comes for free, right! The plan is to equip a quarter of existing domestic aircrafts with IFC in 2018, which will make the service available to over 1 billion passengers traveling via domestic airlines in Indian airspace. So long, Airplane Mode.

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