Satellite phones are not legal in India, it can only be purchased with a license permitted by the Department of Telecommunication.
What is a Satellite phone?
A satellite telephone or satellite phone is a device that connects with other phones by the signals through satellites in orbit around the Earth. It does not receive signals from Terrestrial (land-based ) towers.
It does not have its usage in limited areas covered by tower cells but has its reach to all geographical locations around the Earth’s surface.
The mobile material is also known as Terminal was earlier in the size of 1980’s and 1990’s mobile phones with a retractable Antenna. But in recent times, the size has been similar to that of any regular ordinary mobile phones.
It has been designed to work outdoors where a cell phone can’t be used in different places.
Some are designed for global usage, some for safety and security purposes.
The satellite phone services were launched through INMARSAT. The International Mobile Satellite Organization was set up under the aegis of the United Nations in 1979 and India is one of its founding members.
A Satellite phone in India
- As per Indian law, the usage of the Satellite Phone is banned. Even if any foreign person coming in with all the necessary documents permitting them to use the satellite phones, the Indian Authorities have the right to deny such permittance.
- It becomes difficult for the Indian Agencies to track the conversation if these phones are being used for any terrorist activity, as satellite phones do not connect like ordinary terrestrial cell phones.
- Further, these satellite phone signals interfere with the signals picked up by Army stations and also by intelligence agencies.
- Indian commandment towards satellite phone usage became more stringent after the 26/11 attacks which led to the further revelation that most of the communication with Pakistan happened over Satellite phones.
- Use of satellite phones in India is a violation of section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, India wireless Telegraph Act 1993, the person who is willing to carry, need to obtain a License from the telecommunication department of India.
- As per existing guidelines issued by the Department of Telecommunications, INMARSAT Satellite phones excluding BGAN system can be used by the government, corporate houses, members of mountaineering expeditions and other such categories with prior permission from the Department of Telecommunication.
- The Satellite phones are being used by the border Force Security organizations, disaster management organizations and other bureaucratic organizations.
- Defense Agency does not opt from foreign operators due to the security concerns.
- Thuraya and Iridium sat phones are considered to be illegal in India.
- Anyone using satellite phones without the permission of DoT will be penalized under the Act.
- These persons or authorities have to give all the required declarations to the custom officials ranging from mentioning the brand, serial number and part number of the phone.
GLOBAL SERVICES PHONE SERVICES- BSNL
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has initiated the global services phone services which are known as Satellite phone services which provide communication of any sort of from the globe.
It started satellite phones through INMARSAT which are for government agencies and later will be opened for other citizens.
Currently, it has been designed within Indian surfaces including the territorial surface.
- It is suitable for remote areas and calamity affected areas. The persons working in defense, border security organizations, disaster management bodies, fishermen, trekkers, maritime application, require communication which terrestrial cell phones can’t provide.
- This service is applicable to the Government Agencies, General Public, Private enterprises, and Mini-user who are existing users of satellite phones.
- Indian state-owned, BSNL has decided to avail these services to the General Public as well. From 2019 onwards the release of the satellite phones for the general public will be rendered by the BSNL.
- BSNL is one such leading satellite phone, Indian service provider.
BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said: “We are starting satellite mobile service today with voice and SMS.”
The satellite phones were launched on 24th May 1017 and it was reported that by the BSNL officials that they had 100 crore revenue with the emergence of Satellite phones.
Satellite mobile phones price in India
The standard price in India is Rs. 82000 for the handset with a year warranty.
Additional warranty up to a maximum of 3 years – Rs 5000/ per year.
There are around 1532 authorized satellite phone connections that can operate within the surface of our country and the majority of them are used by Security Forces.
All the connections have been transferred to INMARSAT as declared by the Managing director.
And Rs. 30-35/ per minute has been decided on the standard call rate of the satellite phones.
Earlier people have to carry a larger bag for the satellite phones but now with the new services, only miniature handset has to be carried.