BSNL’s INMARSAT Based Satellite Phone Service Would Be Now Extended To All Citizens In 2 Years
India is one among those countries which have banned the public usage of satellite phone service, fearing exploitation by terrorists. This ultra defensive safety mechanism is hindering response to disaster management when all conventional mode of communications fail.
For instance, during Chennai floods in 2015, when telecom services had stopped for two days. Satellite phones were clearly missed during that phase. But anymore.
Govt. of India has decided to offer satellite phone service for all citizens, in the next two years.
This is a giant leap for Indian telecom industry as a whole, as remote areas can be now connected with the mainstream India, and disaster management can be faster and more efficient.
India’s Satellite Service Launched In Association With INMARSAT
Last week, India launched their newest satellite communications service in association with UK-based INMARSAT.
Under license from Department of Telecom, a new GPS gateway was established at Ghaziabad in Delhi-NCR, which will enable BSNL and INMARSAT to jointly offer satellite services across India.
Per call charge via satellite phone service is expected to be around Rs 35/call.
During the launch, INMARSAT India Managing Director Gautam Sharma said, “All the connections will be transferred to BSNL. The call rates will be determined by BSNL. It should be in the range of Rs 30-35 per minute,”
Now, this service shall be extended to all Indian citizens, in a phased manner.
BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava said, “We have applied to International Maritime Organisation. It will take some time to complete the process. In 18-24 months, we will be in a position to open satellite phones service for citizens in a phased manner,”
How Will Satellite Communications Work?
Note here, that only defence personals and maritime professionals are allowed to use satellite phone service in India. There are only 1532 authorised satellite phone connections operating in India, and 4143 permits have been provided to the maritime community for using them on ships.
Till now, Tata Communications was managing satellite communications in India, which would be now managed by BSNL and INMARSAT.
International Mobile Satellite Organization (INMARSAT) was established in 1979, under United Nations, and India was one of the founding members of this organisation.
Initially, BSNL will provide satellite telephone services to Border Security Forces, Indian Army, Indian Railways, and Disaster Management Teams, and in the next 2 years, it would be extended to all Indian citizens.
Right now, every satellite phone costs Rs 40,000, which would come down when more and more people are using it.
BSNL Chairman said, “The number of satellite phone connections in India is very little but once we open it for citizens, the whole dynamics in the market will change. The volumes will bring down the cost of service. We are charging only Re 1 over the cost that satellite firm will bill to us.”
While traditional telecom services are powered by telecom towers, which can provide connectivity till 25-30 km radius, satellite phones can work in any part of the world, as they are directly receiving signals from satellites placed 38,000 km above the Earth.
We will keep you updated as we receive more details about this development.