Satellite phones (Satphones) have been opened up for the general public since 2017, and this information has circulated in the public domain in an insignificant manner, hence becomes a notable fact. These satellite phones are from BSNL and offered under the ambit of Global Satellite Phone Service (GSPS), and the phones are called ISatPhone 1 and ISatPhone 2 – both of which look like conventional feature phones.
Satellite Phones in India are well depicted in movies and we do hear/read in the newspapers about various underworld operatives usually having a satellite phone in their possession. Some are even caught possessing a satellite phone. But, for the vast majority of wireless subscribers in India (the legal ones obviously!) preferring to travel to places where conventional cell phone network towers/signals find it difficult to penetrate, the ISatPhones should come in handy. By the way, prices of these devices start from Rs 70000 – still affordable considering the fact that some of the smartphones especially Apple ones cost at least a lakh Rupees to purchase. There are authorized franchisees that sell the Satphones. You could check these out, here.
Usage of BSNL-driven Satellite Phones
Upon upgrading the software within the ISatPhones, a BSNL SIM card needs to be inserted within the devices after which the satellite phones become fit for usage.
As far as satellite phone services are concerned, these would be usable only within India and services are derived through the Immarsat I-4 F2 satellite that is positioned at 63.90 degrees east.
Services, offered by the satellite services, include the likes of E-mail to SMS, SMS to E-mail, voice, and circuit-switched data/fax aspects. International roaming is disabled. To avail the phone, you could visit a nearest BSNL Customer Service Centre (CSC).
Finally, you should remember that importing satellite phones into India is illegal and attracts penal action under the Indian Telegraph act; also, Thuraya Satellite Phones are not allowed in India. Remember that you would need a valid reason to use Satphones, overly commercial usage may be subject to due verification by BSNL/governmental authorities.