Inmarsat‘s Global Xpress (GX) in-flight connectivity network is ready to launch over India. The company announced today that, along with strategic partner BSNL, it secured the necessary licensing from India’s Department of Telecommunications.
Today’s announcement, which we share proudly with our friends at BSNL, will help to underpin the further economic growth that we all wish to see in India.– Rajeev Suri, Inmarsat CEO
Inmarsat also announced that SpiceJet is expected to be the first Indian airline to bring the network online. That will occur as its 737 MAX fleet returns to the skies. Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh expects that to happen later this year, though a specific timeline remains unclear.
SpiceJet first indicated its plans to have WiFi on the its 737 MAX fleet in late 2018 with the first aircraft deliveries. At that time Singh also suggested the service would be free to passengers, funded via advertising.
SpiceJet previously predicted a late September return and then an early October date. Both were missed, and a new target has not been shared by the company.
Inmarsat does not mention the possibility for AirAsia India’s planes to launch service, despite at least some being fitted with the necessary hardware since late 2019.
All of us at BSNL appreciate the commitment to excellence shown by the Indian Government as we have worked on approvals to deliver this service to the country. Equally, we thank our partner Inmarsat for their spirit of collaboration in reaching today’s milestone to help power forward economic development in India through higher quality connectivity for our customers.– Mr P.K. Purwar, Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL
Getting the GX offering online “by the end of the year” is not a new timeline for Inmarsat. The company had similar hopes in April 2019 as well. This time around, however, it appears far more likely the plans come to fruition.
The delays in activating GX over India are unfortunate, but far from surprising. The country is known for a challenging regulatory climate. And, even when policies are established, securing necessary licenses can take far more time than businesses would prefer.
But this time around it looks like all the pieces of the puzzle are ready to fall into place. Just as soon as SpiceJet is ready to put the MAX back into service.
More on inflight connectivity in India:
- PaxEx Premium: Grounded in the rush for Indian inflight connectivity
- Jet Airways restructures; is WiFi on the way?
- SpiceJet set to connect on new 737 MAX fleet
- GX5 is alive: Inmarsat activates newest satellite in the Global Xpress constellation
- PaxEx Premium: India inflight internet intentions
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