State-run telecom firm BSNL today asked all satellite phone users in the country to migrate on its network by July 31. At present, satellite phone services in India are being provided by Tata Communications Limited (TCL) and the facilities are expected to be phased out soon. “It is for information of Inmarsat Satellite Phone – IsatPhone Pro and IsatPhone2 users that BSNL is now ready to provide Global Satellite Phone Services (GSPS) through its Gateway located in India. “Therefore, all such customers, who are using Inmarsat Satellite Phones in India are required to migrate to BSNL’s Gateway immediately before July 31, 2017,” BSNL said in a statement. The satellite phone services in India are being facilitated by Tata Communications Limited (TCL), as it had permit which it inherited from the government’s Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. With BSNL setting up its gateway, the services of TCL will be phased out and all the connections are to be transferred to BSNL.
A BSNL official said that the Department of Telecom is expected to grant satellite phone import licence to the firm next week after which it will import handsets and provide to subscribers who will approach it. The satellite phone service in India is allowed for limited organisations but the government plans to open it for public in 2019.
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There are 1,532 authorised satellite phone connections that can operate within the country and a majority of them are used by security forces. TCL has also issued 4,143 permits to maritime community for use of such phones at ships.