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Surf Internet while travelling in air, WiFi facility for airlines passengers coming soon

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OmanAirWiFi

By Newsgram Staff Writer

The government is finally going to announce WiFi based Internet connections on flights, meeting a longstanding demand of both airlines and passengers, reported an English newspaper today.

A senior civil aviation ministry official said his ministry has approached the department of telecommunications (DoT) with the proposal and will make a formal announcement soon. “The DoT has already said (informally) the proposal is  possible to implement,” quoted Economic Times.

DoT allots spectrum, or airwaves, capacity to operators to provide telecom and broadband services. In India, only foreign airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines offer Internet connectivity on international flights.

Like the use of mobile phones onboard even in flight mode, Wi-Fi and other technologies require regulatory clearances. Airlines typically provide Wi-Fi services by installing on board planes a server that hooks up with a ground-based mobile broadband network or links to satellites.

The number of commercial airplanes globally with Wi-Fi, cell service or both is expected to more than triple over the next 10 years to 14,000, with Asia spawning most of the growth, according to IHS, a research firm.

For airlines, desperate for new sources of revenue because of their wafer-thin margins, Wi-Fi will be a possibly lucrative service to sell. But globally, the service hasn’t been a huge money spinner for airlines because equipping fleets with Wi-Fi, especially via satellites, is costly and few carriers have found a profitable way to cover costs.

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DoT Invites Bidders to Submit Applications for Selection of Agency to Conduct E-Auction of 5G Spectrum

However, the guidelines for auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz

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DoT, Bidders, 5G
The tenure of the contract would be 3+1 years for the Auctioneer (with normal tenure of 3 years and a provision of extension for 1 year by mutual consent, if required), the DoT notice said. Pixabay

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday through its request for proposal (RFP) invited bidders to submit applications for selection of an agency to conduct the e-auction of 5G spectrum.

The tenure of the contract would be 3+1 years for the Auctioneer (with normal tenure of 3 years and a provision of extension for 1 year by mutual consent, if required), the DoT notice said.

However, the guidelines for auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3300-3600 MHz bands will be announced separately, the statement said.

The auction will be conducted in 22 telecom service areas as per the decision of the government, it added.

DoT, Bidders, 5G
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Monday through its request for proposal (RFP) invited bidders to submit applications for selection of an agency to conduct the e-auction of 5G spectrum. Pixabay

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the auction would take place during this calendar year.

The auction is expected to be India’s largest so far, with 8,293.95 MHz of airwaves expected to go under the hammer at an estimated total base price of Rs 5.77 lakh crore. This is 3.5 times the 2,354 MHz of spectrum offered at the previous auction in 2016, for which the total base price was Rs 5.63 lakh crore.

The industry has, however, expressed apprehension about the higher reserve price for the 5G spectrum auction.

Last year, the regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had proposed the sale of 20 MHz blocks of 5G spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 MHz band at a price of Rs 492 crore per unit. By this price, an operator would be required to pay at least Rs 9,840 crore to buy 5G spectrum on a pan-India basis as the regulator has suggested it should be put to auction in a block size of 20 MHz.

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For the 700 MHz band, TRAI had suggested a 43 per cent cut to Rs 6,568 crore per unit as the spectrum went unsold in the 2016 sale due to high reserve prices.

Meanwhile, rating agency ICRA has said that telecom operators are unlikely to bid aggressively for 5G spectrum as the pricing is too high.

Global rating agency Fitch has also raised similar concerns. (IANS)