The telecom department (DoT) is likely to hold a meeting today with telecom operators, airlines and shipping companies to discuss a road map for in-flight and maritime mobile services.
The government has so far received application from only two companies Hughes India and Tata Telenet for in-flight and maritime connectivity (IFMC) and is expecting a rise in the number of applicants.
What is In-flight mobile phone service?
In simple terms, this technology provides an opportunity to passengers on a flight to communicate without interruptions using their mobile phones. However, its functioning is more complicated than a conventional mobile phone operation. While communication through mobile phones switches between two frequencies, i.e. talking and receiving, in the case of in-flight mobile phones, the capacity diminishes as the flight climbs higher.
To overcome this issue, service providers will use equipment that will enable them to redirect calls and massages through a satellite network. The satellite is connected to the ground-based network to provide uninterrupted connectivity. On the other hand, the system within the flight is controlled by the on board crew, who can limit the usage based on the situation.
Usage across the globe
While there is a ban on the in-flight mobile usage in the US, several countries have already shown green signal to the system. Since 2008, countries like the UK have allowed its usage. Chinese carriers are also allowed to operate the system since last year. Across European countries, AeroMobile and OnAir allow use of personal electronics devices aboard flights on licensed carriers. Similarly several carriers such as Quantas, Turkish Airlines, Ryanair and Emirates Airline have also shown green signal to the system.
Views opposing the employment of In-flight mobile phone service There are views supporting and opposing the usage of this system. Many argue that this will lead to electromagnetic interference to aircraft systems jeopardizing safety of the people on board. The recent disappearance of Malaysian Airline’s flight has further strengthened fear about on board cyber-attack.
There are also many who argue the connectivity will increase mobile usage that will be a nuisance for travelers. There are also questions about the economic burden this could cost users particularly in India where, satellite bandwidth charges are higher due to the condition that bandwidth can be procured only from Indian Space Research Organization.
(With PTI inputs)
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