Intelsat and Nelco, two leading players in the satellite and in-flight connectivity markets, have partnered to provide in-flight internet services over Indian skies. The result of this agreement is the provision of end-to-end internet connectivity on domestic and international flights arriving at or departing from Indian airports as well as on planes flying over the nation.
The introduction of in-flight mobile services by Reliance Jio on 22 international flights in 2020 was a big game-changer, and this new agreement is expected to have a similar impact. Currently, this will only function on airlines that are Intelsat partners.
Nelco will provide these services using Intelsat’s IS-33e high-capacity satellite. Since its launch in 2016, this satellite has made it possible for areas in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to have C- and Ku-band connectivity. The Indian government had previously shown reluctance to let the service be made commercially available, but it has subsequently granted permission for Intelsat’s IS-33e satellite to operate nonstop, with no blackouts, over Indian skies.
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Speaking on the announcement, Jeff Sare, president of Commercial Aviation at Intelsat said, “In addition to expanding our service coverage area for current customer airlines, our agreement with Nelco opens the possibility for Intelsat to serve India’s domestic airlines. This is a fast-growing airline market, and there is considerable untapped potential for IFC growth.“
Meanwhile PJ Nath, managing director and CEO of NELCO, said, “We are proud that Nelco has forged this relationship with in-flight connectivity pioneer Intelsat to offer Aero IFC services on their customer aircraft. As India’s leading Satcom service provider offering best-in-class services, we are now creating a great opportunity through this relationship with Intelsat for further growth of our Aero IFC services in the country in the coming years – and we intend to be a leader in this market in India.“