Iridium Cries Foul on BSNL-INMASAT Satellite Phone Deal

India’s satellite phone market gets a new interested party to make this space competitive. Iridium, American satphone company is looking for an entry but accuses government policies to prevent the space competitive.

Presently only state-owned operator BSNL is offering services with INMARSAT. BSNL received a LoI from the DoT on July 9 and signed a principle agreement with INMARSAT on September 2. BSNL now can offer satellite based voice & IP broadband services with proper guidelines from defence ministry.


Few days backs country’s tourism ministry has also expressed their view on easy permission for satphone use among adventure tourists as white zone areas like in Himalayas & north-east satphone can save hundreds of distressed tourists.

Iridium finds the deal between BSNL & INMARSAT very anti-competitive move as they did not get any chance to bid for this single slot.

India restricts the use of satphones on the concern for security as unlike traditional mobile networks satphones are bypassing security agencies’ radar. Earlier VSNL was offering services with this London-based operator, but as Tata bought VSNL, the service was terminated.

Also Read: BSNL to Tie up with Sistema to use GLONASS Satellite Navigation

In November Bharti Airtel’s African arm has made a deal with UAE headquartered Thuraya to launch its services in 12 countries of African continent. Etisalat controlled Thuraya is a very popular satphone services in middle east, but it is not allowed in India.

As DoT says on ‘Restrictions on the use of Satellite Phone’ : “Satellite phones are permitted only with specific permission from Department of Telecomm, Government of India. Presently use of specific type of INMARSAT terminals are only permitted as per details available under the link INMARSAT.”

As per our opinion satphone market should be allowed for private operators also, like Airtel. It can attract another lot of foreign investments. What Iridium has said, we think that’s correct. An auction for this single slot of satphone contract with BSNL would encash billions of money in government treasury.

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4 Comments on "Iridium Cries Foul on BSNL-INMASAT Satellite Phone Deal"


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November 24, 2014 10:42 am 10:42 AM
The government must allow to create a new GSM network via satellite for BSNL that helps us to make 2 way calls and SMS, access 2G and 3G data, in roaming at affordable rates covering all over India .For example : The rural and remote areas are : > Salem – Hosur railway route after crossing Salem / hosur junction > Thalavadi forest after Sathiyamangalam (Erode district) > Dudhsagar falls > Subramanya road – Sakleshpur (karnataka) broad gauge track route in the ghat section > Munnar (kerala) > Maettuppaalaiyam – Ooty ghat road > Borra caves (Andhra pradesh) > All… Read more »
bharat khanna
November 24, 2014 9:24 am 9:24 AM

give it sll to BSNL and dont allowe that later BSNL can come back and say we are in loss

November 23, 2014 10:25 pm 10:25 PM
Govt has no time to think on this prospective as it is busy in the exploitation on terrestial mobile networks like we have election s all the year round so do we have spectrum auction happening all the year round TRAI is busy preparing the consultation papers for DOT on how to further exploit the telecom sector and increase the operating cost of the operators and indirectly increase the cost burden on the consumer .. Govt may be unaware of such Sattelite phone service really exists in this world or not. or maybe the Sattelite services dont come under the… Read more »
November 24, 2014 12:02 am 12:02 AM

not only terrorists and goons but most politicians and police use illegal satellite phones.