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Monday, 24 December 2018 05:03

High bandwidth charges may make in-flight mobile services a failure: Hughes India Report

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According to the chief technology officer of broadband technology firm Hughes India, K Krishna, high satellite bandwidth charges are likely to play a spoiler in the uptake of in-flight mobile services in India as these would make the facility costlier by 30-50 times at Rs 700-1,000 for a two-hour journey.

As of now, satellite bandwidth charges in India are 7-8 times higher compared to other parts of the world due to the condition that bandwidth can be procured from Indian Space Research Organisation only.

Krishna said: "Passengers are not going to pay 50 times higher price for Internet on a two-hour flight. It has to be extremely affordable and for that to happen open sky mechanism is very much required. You can't be restrictive that only Indian satellite needs to provide capacity. Monopolistic policy won't work. The policy will become a duck if these issues are not addressed."

He added: "Investment per plane is not small. It is in the range of USD 500 thousand per plane. None of the Indian airlines or shipping companies will really invest till they see a return, and return has to come from passenger paying for the service. The bandwidth will make 70-80 per cent cost of service. At present rates, current tariff will be in the range of Rs 700-1,000 which lot of people are not going to afford if they compare it with routine mobile plans."

He further said: "An option to increase uptake is that in-flight service charges are included in air ticket but the tickets are already in the range of Rs 4,000-5,000 and adding charges of IFC service will not be a feasible business model for airlines."

According to Krishna, "Indian vessels going outside Indian border should also be provided service by an Indian service provider. Otherwise we are letting service providers from other countries exploit it. None of other country surrounding India has restriction of 12 nautical miles like we have."

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