BSNL has secured necessary licenses to deliver Inmarsat's Global Xpress (GX) mobile broadband services in India, which would enable Indian domestic airlines and international airlines flying over the country to provide high-speed inflight connectivity.
Under BSNL's Inflight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) license from Telecom Department, GX will be available to Indian customers across government, aviation, and maritime, Inmarsat said in a statement.
The announcement made by Inmarsat on Wednesday assumes significance as it means that India's airlines will be able to deploy GX for in-flight connectivity within India and across the world, while India's commercial maritime companies will be able to enhance significantly the digitalization of their vessels for more effective ship operations and crew welfare services.
According to the statement, state-owned BSNL's license will also see the GX service offered to the government and other users. Introduction of services will happen in a phased manner, for customers and partners.
The statement quoted Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet Ltd, as saying: ''We are delighted that Global Xpress, the world-leading passenger inflight connectivity service, is now coming to India''.
''We are looking forward to offering this ground-breaking connectivity service to our passengers later this year when we introduce our new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,'' Singh said, adding it will enable customers to remain connected in the air as they do on the ground.
GX, operating in the Ka-band, is a high-speed broadband network designed for mobility and government customers to seamlessly span the world. The service delivers the high bandwidth, reliability, and security that commercial and government-grade mobility customers need.
GX is evolving to offer even more capacity, capabilities, and operational agility for Inmarsat customers now and into the future.
The company is launching a further seven GX satellites, including its next-generation GX satellites, over the coming three years, each of which will add more capacity into a single region than the first four satellites combined.
The GX gateway for India is located in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
''Today is a significant day for Inmarsat and our valued, long-term partnership with India, which was a signatory to the founding treaty establishing Inmarsat in 1979,'' Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO said.
Inmarsat, Suri said, is ''delighted'' to make the global high-speed mobile broadband 'Ka-band' network available to the government and businesses in India through partner BSNL.
''Today's announcement...will help to underpin the further economic growth that we all wish to see in India,'' Suri said.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Chairman and Managing Director, PK Purwar said, ''Global Xpress is recognized as the world's best high-speed satellite communications service for the government and mobility business customers and ''we are very pleased to make these capabilities available to users in India''.
Inmarsat is well-positioned to partner with the Indian government to address the ever-growing demand for reliable, mobile satellite communication services across a broad range of commercial and public sectors, Gautam Sharma, Inmarsat India Managing Director, said.
After the introduction of Inmarsat's voice and broadband data communication services across India in the past, Inmarsat's Global Xpress services has now secured the necessary licenses through partner BSNL, Sharma added.
Terming Global Xpress as the ''gold standard of high-speed satellite mobile broadband communications'', Sharma said it will enable Indian domestic airlines and international airlines flying over India to provide fast inflight connectivity.
''It will also speed up the digitalization of Indian-flagged maritime vessels and give an edge to the Indian government, including its defense forces,'' Sharma.
(With PTI inputs)