This Wednesday, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. has started a satellite phone service with Inmarsat, a global leader in mobile satellite communication, under license from Department of Telecommunications (DOT).
Opening of the new GSPS Gateway, located in Ghaziabad UP, will enable users in India to access highly reliable ‘satphone’ services via Inmarsat’s 4th generation satellites. This service will be rolled out in phase-wise manner, with initial offer of services to government bodies and then to citizens in areas where there is no network available. A constellation of 14 satellites will cover these areas with satellite communication.
As per the phase-wise plan, government agencies/bodies like police departments, Border Security Force, Disaster Management Agencies, railways etc. will get to use the satphone services in the 1st phase of the plan, Manoj Sinha, Telecom Minister, said. He also added that in the later stages, the service will be open to travellers in flights and ships.
AnupamShrivastava, BSNL MD &Chairman, said: “We are starting satellite mobile service today with voice and SMS.”
Presently, Tata Communications is offering Satellite Phone Services under license from VSNL.
“The services of TCL will be phased out by June 30, 2017,” Shrivastava said.
Under license from VSNL, a gateway was set up in Pune for Satellite Phone Service to meet the challenge of increasing security issues in satellite phones offered by foreign players.
“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,” INMARSAT India MD Gautam Sharma said.
Security and Defence forces didn’t go for ‘satphones’ from foreign operators as they presented espionage and security concerns.Foreign operators who offered such terminals to security forces did not hold valid licenses in India.
TRAI said that it is possible that the communications through these phones are monitored by foreign authorities. This is because their gateways are located out of the country.
Security forces have been demanding the authorities for setting up a new gateway in India for a very long time to support new-generation handsets for land-mobile connections.
BSNL satphone service, using Inmarsat, comes as a positive move.
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Sheetal Singh, From ITvoir News Desk