Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came up with some key announcements in its regulatory meeting on Tuesday that will allow users to use internet applications such as Skype and WhatsApp to make voice calls to landline.
Moreover, the regulatory body has also given approval for the provision of in-flight connectivity that would let travelers use their mobile phones and browse the internet while traveling mid-air.
In-Flight Connectivity to take On-Board
According to the new provisions, flight connectivity would facilitate data and voice service once a plane has reached a height of 3,000 meters. There are companies like Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, are already providing such service on their flights abroad. As per the sources, Telecom department will issue a new license called the in-flight connectivity provider license for the operation of these services. However, the jurisdiction, issues of safety and licensing will take its own time for the services to kick start.
A Top official at Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said,
” It was decided to accept TRAI’s recommendations except for it said that foreign satellites and foreign gateways should also be permitted. However, in the early committee meetings, it was decided that it should be an Indian satellite or a department of space-approved satellite and that the gateway should be in India. Hence, subject to these two conditions, TRAI recommendations have been accepted.”
Internet Telephony Services will Now Be Possible
Another landmark decision that would reinforce connectivity would be regarding Internet telephony services. This will allow an app to call a mobile or a landline without the other user or the called person needing to have the same on the instrument possible. The move will further help to reduce voice call charges, however, the quality of voice call will depend on service provider’s service.
The officials also clarified that entities like Skype and WhatsApp which are internet based will not have to apply for a license to offer the services as Skype-to-Skype calls and WhatsApp to WhatsApp calls are already possible. Users will now be to make WhatsApp-to-mobile or WhatsApp-to-landline calls also.
Public Data Office To Boost Job Creation
The Commission has also approved TRAI’s approval to set up public data office to boost proliferation of WiFI services in the country.The move is targeted at creation of job market in small towns and rural areas, enabling small shops and kirana store owners to be able to sell cheap broadband services using WiFi hotspots for as low as Rs 10 or Rs 5.
The Telecom Commission in India is the apex decision-making body of Department of Telecommunication and is headed by its Secretary.