Indo Teleports Limited (ITL), a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has received an ‘in-flight and maritime connectivity’ licence to provide Wi-Fi and mobile services on flights in Indian airspace, the Times of India reported on Friday. An Airtel spokesperson has confirmed the development to MediaNama. State-run telecom company BSNL was granted the same licence earlier in the week. Its partner Inmarsat said they expected to commence services “later this year once the ground infrastructure and associated approvals are in place”. To say India is late to the party would be a huge understatement. According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall) India and North Korea are the only two countries that still do not allow in-flight connectivity. It was less than a year ago, in May 2018, that India’s Telecom Commission approved TRAI’s recommendations to allow in-flight connectivity in Indian airspace. According a blog post by eDreams, a travel website, 54 airlines were offering in-flight connectivity as of January 2018 - eight of these for free. A 2018 survey by Inmarsat, BSNL's partner, revealed that two out of three passengers would be more likely to rebook with an airline if it offered Wi-Fi. This rose to 81% for people travelling with children and 83% for business travellers. TRAI, TRAI until you succeed In October 2017, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had released a consultation paper calling for views from stakeholders about whether or not in-flight connectivity should be allowed in India, and the government licensing framework for this. In January 2018…
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