“Tariff plans are still ongoing and when the domestic market opens up for IFC, there will be different models coming up. Some of it will be built into the price of a ticket, some will be charged separately,” PJ Nath, CEO, Nelco told ETTelecom.
Nath further said the company is in discussions on pricing strategy with stakeholders. “That (tariff) will also vary from one carrier to another in terms of how they will start the service in the country,” he said, adding that Nelco remains the only company offering IFC services nationally.
Following the Corona outbreak, the aviation sector has taken a big hit and airline operators remain cautious, which according to the Mumbai-based company is expected to be up and running again soon.
“Due to the pandemic, the aviation sector has not performed so well, so IFC has not been a priority for airlines so far and has been kept on the back burner. It will definitely pick up speed, to keep the connection is a way of life today,” said the chief executive. .
In September 2019, the Tata Group’s Nelco entered maritime communications services after receiving an In-Flight and Maritime Communication (IFMC) license.
“The license offers both voice and data. It will depend on the airline and what they want to do. What we have observed is that people globally do not use much voice as they would rather use data services. We will offer what the customer wants,” he said. added Nath.
The Tata Group’s company is working with Panasonic Avionics to offer IFC services in India. Japanese Panasonic has almost 30% of IFC’s market share worldwide and works closely with airlines such as Emirates and British Airways.
Nelco maintains a gateway in Mumbai and operates two teleports in Mumbai and Dehradun. In May 2018, a high-level inter-ministerial committee, chaired by then-Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications Aruna Sundararajan, approved the move to allow air travelers to access the Internet and make voice calls.
In December 2018, the Center launched the IFMC licensing scheme, which allows companies to offer in-flight connections for 10 years. However, Melbai-based Nelco is still the only player offering in-air connectivity services in the country.