Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom operator has joined a new global collaboration called Seamless Alliance to bring high-speed and uninterrupted in-flight data connectivity to mobile customers. Seamless Alliance has been founded by OneWeb, Airbus, Delta and Sprint along with Bharti Airtel. The alliance will work towards leveraging satellite technology to offer data connectivity to mobile users even when they are onboard a flight, as mentioned by the company in a statement.
Together, these members hope to "eliminate the immense costs and hurdles commonly associated with acquisition, installation, and operation of data access infrastructure". This will be done by streamlining system integration and certification, providing open specifications for interoperability, increasing accessibility for passengers, and enabling simple and integrated billing, the statement added.
"Airtel has joined the Seamless Alliance which will usher in a new era of open innovation for mobile operators and airlines by empowering mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins," the statement further said.
"We are delighted to be a founding member of this innovative technology platform to bring seamless connectivity to customers in the true sense," Gopal Vittal, CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said. Over 370 million mobile customers across Airtel's global network will be able to enjoy uninterrupted access to high-speed data services even while they are in-flight, he added.
"We look forward to collaborating with all partner members to ensure this platform goes Live at the earliest," Vittal further said.
Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman of OneWeb said that the collaboration will work to provide the best internet experience to flyers. Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer said this is a step towards the next revolution in aerospace that would be brought about by high-speed connectivity.
The initiative was announced in Barcelona and they will also look at bringing in other operators into their alliance apart from the founding members.
Airtel is the third largest mobile operator in the world with operations in 16 countries across Asia and Africa.
(With PTI inputs)