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General News BSNL launches satellite phone services
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NEW DELHI: State run carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) launched voice services over satellite in India which will allow connectivity in remote areas and also give connectivity at sea, but will be limited to government agencies such as defense forces, PSUs and disaster management, in the first phase.

The satellite and connecting gateway has been set up by UK based satellite services provider Inmarsat, in Gaziabad, and services from satellite will be available on satellite phones that are imported into the country. The gateway is the fourth such in the world.

"The voice and SMS service will be in prepaid and postpaid basis, and is being offered for police, CRPF and other government agencies, and in future private citizens will also be able to use it, and data will also be available," telecom minister Manoj Sinha said.

"This is a revolutionary step taken by BSNL and the telecom department," he added.

Presently Inmarsat offers 5500 connections with Tata Communications Limited, which will be phased out by June and moved to BSNL.

Enabling local gateway will cut the voice call costs by half to around Rs 30-35 a minute, and are care of security concerns by allowing monitoring by local law enforcement agencies, and government will benefit from license fee and spectrum usage charge.

In the second phase, data services are expected to be launched on satellite, and will be opened up for common users.

"Phase two will be opened up for all users, like CEOs of top companies who have to be connected all the time and we hope that connectivity can be given for airlines as well. India and North Korea are the only two countries that don't offer inflight connectivity, we hope that BSNL and DoT are able to get the second phase going within a couple of months, said Gautam Sharma, MD of Inmarsat India.

Tariffs for common people will be decided soon, BSNL MD Anupam Shrivastava said, adding that the charges will be affordable. He added that services for airlines can be given within the first phase but it will depend on approvals from DoT and talks with airlines.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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