BSNL is planning to start IFMC (Inflight and Maritime Connectivity) services soon and is in the process of establishing the satellite gateway at Ghaziabad in tie up with Inmarsat.
Satellite bandwidth has been provided on Indian Satellites by ISRO to Hughes Communications India and Tatanet Services for providing IFMC service whereas BSNL is in process of taking satellite bandwidth of Inmarsat satellite through ISRO.
For Inflight Services, Indian airline companies do not have on-board equipment for delivering the services. The equipment has to be retrofitted to the aircraft and retrofitting is costly and will entail grounding of aircraft. Presently, only 13 SpiceJet aircrafts are ready with Inmarsat equipment and services will be available on these aircraft once BSNL gateway is ready and ISRO permission is available for Inmarsat satellite bandwidth.
IFMC service provider can provide wireless voice or data or both type of services on ships within Indian territorial waters and on aircraft within or above India or Indian territorial waters. Territorial waters are 12 nautical miles from baseline of the coast and beyond that is the Exclusive Economic Zone upto 200 nautical miles (1 nautical mile is 1.852 Kms).
The DoT has issued licenses to seven companies – Hughes Communications India, Tatanet Services, Indo Teleports, BSNL, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Cloudcast Digital and Bharti Airtel to provide IFMC services till date.
Gateways for providing services have been established by Hughes Communications India at Gurgaon and Mehboob Nagar (Telangana) and Tatanet Services at Dehradun and Navi Mumbai.
Tatanet Services has tied up with shipping companies such as L&T Shipping for maritime connectivity services and have also installed the remote end equipment in the vessels. Services will be provided using GST-14 satellite of ISRO in Ku-band (12 – 18 GHz). Tatanet Services has also invested Rs. 20 Crore for establishing the satellite gateway and satellite connectivity for providing maritime connectivity services.