BSNL to launch satellite phone services for everyone by 2019

In news:

BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) has decided to give a solution for the network problem faced by many.

State-owned BSNL has launched satellite phone services to provide communication via satellites in areas without mobile coverage.

The satellite phone service will be initially offered to government agencies and will later be opened for other citizens in a phased manner.

Working of satellite phones:

* When most people think of satellite phones, they picture huge, clunky devices that went out of style with the early 90s. But they’ve come a long way and the satellite phones have proved to be very useful in extreme cases

* A satellite phone, as one may gather from the name, routes calls via satellites instead of land-based cell towers

* There are a number of satellite networks that are used to make calls, but they generally fall into two camps: geosynchronous and low-Earth orbit

* When a call is made, it’s transmitted from the phone to the nearest satellite, then beamed through the provider’s satellite constellation and back down to the person whom called.

About the satellite phones service:

  • The service will cover areas where no networks are present and be provided by INMARSAT (International Mobile Satellite Organisation) which has 14 satellites. INMARSAT was set up under the aegis of the United Nations in 1979 and India was one of the founding members.
  • Agencies handling disasters, state police, railways, Border Security Force and other government agencies will be given the phones in the first phase
  • Satellite phones in India are presently provided by Tata Communications, which inherited the licence from Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), now Tata Communications Limited
  • There are 1,532 authorised satellite phone connections that can operate within the country and a majority of them are used by security forces
  • Defence forces did not opt for satellite phones from the foreign operators because of security and espionage concerns.
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