The next possible solution where you have zero network connection is to use direct satellite communication. The government owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched satellite phone services through INMARSAT (International Mobile Satellite Organisation). The service will be initially offered to government agencies and security forces.

The satellite phone services will cover those areas where no network are present. Especially in the border areas and Naxal-hit areas of our country. The service will be provided by fourteen satellites of INMARSAT. The new Indian GSPS Gateway will provide government agencies like defence services, maritime industry and other agencies working in remote areas a secure communication solution.

We are starting satellite mobile service today with voice and SMS. At present, Satellite phones in India are provided by Tata Communications Limited (TCL),” said Anupam Shrivastava, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director. “The services of TCL will be phased out by June 30, 2017,” he added.

BSNL starts Satellite Phone Services via INMARSAT

In the first phase of operation, government agencies handling disasters, state police, railways, Border Security Force and other government agencies will be given the phones. In the second phase, the service will be opened to people while travelling in flight and on ships.

Until today, the government were not able to monitor calls made from or to the satellite phones being used in India which, according to DoT officials, pose a national security threat. Also, during the time of disaster or normal communication systems break down, government dependent on foreign gateways for satellite communication services.

BSNL has now set up India’s First Satellite Communication Gateway (GMPCS). The service is under the licence from Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The new GSPS gateway is located in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh which will enable BSNL and INMARSAT to meet the requirements of satellite phone users in the country. All the connections will be transferred to BSNL and call rates should be in the range of Rs 30-35 per minute.

BSNL Satellite Phone Services

  • It can offer phone communication in areas where no networks are present.
  • Service will be provided by 14 satellites of INMARSAT.
  • Satellite mobile service can offer both voice and SMS service.
  • The first phase – Agencies handling disasters, state police, railways, Border Security Force and other government agencies.
  • The second phase – People travelling in flight and on ships.

Currently, there are 1,532 authorised satellite phone connections in the country and a majority of them are used by security forces. In addition, TCL has also issued 4,143 permits to maritime community for use of such phones at ships.

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