Nelco, a Tata Enterprise and India’s leading VSAT solutions provider, announced the launch of Aero In-Flight Communication (IFC) services in India on 19 Feb 2020. It has entered into a partnership with Panasonic Avionics Corporation for offering these services. Nelco is the first Indian company to provide this service in the country, marking the beginning of a new era of WiFi on aircraft in Indian skies.
Vistara Likely to Be the First Customer for Nelco
With the launch of these services, domestic airlines can now offer in-flight internet connectivity services to their passengers. The start of these services also enables international aircrafts flying over the Indian airspace to seamlessly provide internet connectivity services which unless was not possible earlier due to various concerns. As Vistara has already signed up for Aero IFC services in partnership with Nelco, it is likely to be the first domestic airline carrier to offer in-flight connectivity services in the country.
Opens Up New Opportunities
Vistara being a full-service carrier in the airline industry operates in metros and cities of significance. Now, with the addition of Aero IFC services, Vistara can enhance premium class services and provide luxury facilities to the premium consumer segment. The introduction of high-speed internet connectivity in the flight paves the way for various consumer-centric use cases such as advertising, enhancing passenger experience, offer luxury or complementary services, optimise operations etc.
Speaking on this new development, Mr. P J Nath, MD & CEO of NELCO said, “We are delighted that Nelco is spearheading in providing the long awaited Aero IFC services in the country, marking the beginning of a new chapter in passenger services for the aviation sector in India. We are also very happy that we have forged the partnership with Panasonic Avionics in serving their customers. We foresee a great opportunity for growth in the IFC services in the country in the coming years and intend to be a leader in this market”.
Speaking on this new development, Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation said, “Becoming the first satellite communications provider to offer services over India is a major milestone for Panasonic. We are delighted to be partnering with Nelco and are proud to offer our valued customers the ability to change the way people stay connected inflight, at sea and in remote locations around the world.”
Pricing and Ground-Based Internet Service Scenario
As the pricing structure is not yet known or revealed, and with the current state of the ground-based wireless internet service industry, it needs to be seen what pricing methodology does the carrier adopts. We have already discussed in brief about the working, possibilities and use cases of WiFi on Planes in our earlier analysis from a consumer perspective. But considering the Network and the route map in which Vistara operates, WiFi on planes can be a premium class experience. While we expect complimentary services for a certain duration in the early days, the tariff corrections and revisions that are bound to happen with ground-based high-speed internet services would ease the stress on the thought process involved in the pricing of inflight WiFi services going forward.
Role of Telecom Ministry & Nelco
The IFMC license is a vital initiative of the Telecom Ministry, a move to liberalise satellite communication services in India. Nelco obtained the IFMC licence and is the first Indian company to enable communication services for the maritime and airlines sectors in India. Currently, Nelco is the only company in India that has successfully operationalised the entire scope of the IFMC license comprising of both, the Aero In-Flight Communication and Maritime Communication services.
Get ready to experience speeds on board but with connectivity this time!