In-flight connectivity on domestic and international flights in India may be available by the last week of September, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Friday. A Central government notification on the matter will be issued soon, PTI quoted her as saying.

In-flight connectivity allows travellers to make calls and access internet services during flights.

“IFC [in-flight connectivity] may happen this week or may be early next week because we have already finalised the guidelines,” Sundararajan said. “Just the notification is to be issued.”

In May, the Telecom Commission approved the proposal. Sundararajan had then said the process would be expedited and it should be available within three months.

The response from both domestic and international airline operators has been positive so far as they see it as a competitive strategy to attract more customers, the bureaucrat said. “International operators like INMARSAT [a British satellite company] also are keen to come in and, of course, our own local players are there,” she added.

Sundararajan said the charges to use in-flight connectivity would be fixed by operators but the final authority will rest with the telecom regulator.

In-flight connectivity will be available once the aircraft climbs to an altitude of 3,000 metres “for compatibility with terrestrial mobile networks”, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommended earlier this year. The regulator had said airlines should provide internet services through on board WiFi facilities – commonplace in international flights – and allow its use only when electronic devices are on flight or airplane mode.

While many airlines already offer WiFi services to passengers, they are switched off once the flights enter Indian airspace.