At a time when almost all the operators like Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone are trying to impress mobile subscribers with attractive offers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited ( BSNL) has launched satellite phone services to provides communication via satellites in areas without mobile coverage.
As a result of this development, Government agencies will not be left high and dry in case there is a breakdown in normal mobile and landline service or if they are working in terrains which are entirely unconnected.
The significant difference between a regular phone and satellite phone is the way in which they transmit signals. In Mobile Phones, signals are transmitted via land-based towers as a result of which one can dial or receive calls, send messages and connect to the internet. So in case one faces issues like weak signal or call drops it could be due to absence of a tower nearby to the location, electricity failure at the tower or malfunctioning of the equipment in the tower. Also, possibility of a problem with the device can cause the issues.
On the other hand, in satellite phones signals are transmitted via satellites orbiting the earth as a result of which one can make or receive calls and send text messages. The only time when you will not be able to make calls through them is when the battery of the phone has drained.
The fact that satellite signals are transmitted far above the earth and do not rely on towers is what makes them useful in remote areas or handy in case of calamities like earthquake or floods. It would be impossible to place cell phone towers everywhere, like in the middle of the ocean or in a dense jungle, to ensure continuous signals. This is why satellite phones are more useful than mobile phones to those who are travelling to isolated areas or places where there is no connectivity.
It may be recalled that in the Nepal and Latur earthquake when complete mobile and landline network was down security forces, and disaster management teams had extensively used satellite phones to help the people and provide support.Though the cost of making calls on satellite phones is quite high, BSNL hassubsidised it for Rs 35 per minute.
Interestingly, India has around 1,532 authorised satellite phone connections, and a majority of them are used by security forces and disaster management teams.