BSNL is planning to extend satellite phone services for all citizens in two years that can work at any corner of the
country and remain immune to breakdown of mobile services during natural calamities. “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,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.
Satellite phones will able to work in any part of the country, even inside flights and ships, as they depend on signals directly from satellites located about 35,700 kms above the earth. Traditional mobile networks cover around 25-30 kms around towers and can transmit signals to phones placed equal to
or below the height of the tower. BSNL has started satellite phone service using INMARSAT service which will be initially offered to government agencies and later extended to citizens in a phased manner.
The service will cover areas where no networks are present and be provided by INMARSAT which has 14 satellites.
Agencies handling disasters, state police, railways,Border Security Force and other government agencies will be given the phones in the first phase.
“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,” Shrivastava said.