Satellite Phones

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#16 Jun 24th, 2009, 15:16
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#17 Jun 24th, 2009, 16:21
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Obligatory Sense-of-Humour Test --- Passed!

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#18 Jun 29th, 2009, 17:50
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#18
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post I used both a Thuraya and Iridium satphone in the past (not in India though). Thuraya is the cheapest (still about 1 lakh to buy as Haylo says), but call quality wasn't always acceptable, especially in vehicles or sometimes under tree cover. Iridium call quality was very, very good but they're outrageously expensive. If you want to rent them, all companies will request you pay a warranty that equals the unit's replacement cost so this quickly becomes very expensive.

Also, I don't know if technology has changed much but those phones drain battery power like there's no tomorrow, you have to recharge every night if you leave them switched on all the time.

For trekking purposes imho an EPIRB/PLB (manually activated locator beacon that transmits your position to a satellite and then to a search and rescue control center) would be both better and certainly less expensive.

I have absolutely no idea where you could rent this type of gear in India. In case of a satphone, as captain Mahajan said, using that will put a blip on the radar screens of some government agencies (they're known to have been used by extremists and naxalites) who allegedly routinely monitor such communications in sensitive areas.
Ok guys as the thread starter, perhaps it is fitting i should end it with some fairly well researched gyaan everyone might gain from

contrary to belief, sat phones DO NOT cost the earth, they're for about (model SO2510) $500 (sat phone only), and (model SG2520) $895 (sat phone + GSM) respectively. im talking about the thuraya brands, and perhaps you could check out their website!

call costs- outgoing is approximately $1.49 a minute and sms is $0.40. In India telecom operators have pretty much blocked outgoing calls to sat phones and one cant send msgs to domestic phones from sat phones either from my experience. Also, apparently (and this is hearsay) while its a dicey proposition to have a sat phone in your possession without valid reason, its also a necessity to obtain an 'inner line permit' which one requires for areas close to the Tibet region. I did Lamkhaga Pass last year, and it was mandatory; we got away without one but thats another story!

As far as battery is concerned, yes, Sat phones connect to SATELLITES and im not surprised the battery isnt as strong as your regular mobile set. You can do one of the following:

a) buy a couple of extra batteries (about 2k odd);
b) buy a heavy duty battery which Thuraya has responded with; or
c) carry a dependable solar charger (check the same at home before you leave, and God help you if you're stuck without that friendly guy in the sky for an extended time period!)

Thuraya phones are shockingly light, and the one i used weighed slightly less than the Blackberry 8900 i have in my pocket!!!

To pre-empt your next question, i borrowed my piece from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous and i didnt press upon him to reveal his exact channels!

This short write up is essentially to serve as an indicative guide, and if anyone out there has additional info, perhaps it would benefit everyone curious about Sat phones!
#19 Aug 28th, 2009, 10:52
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#19
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Originally Posted by dillichaat View Post Thuraya is the cheapest (still about 1 lakh to buy as Haylo says), but call quality wasn't always acceptable, especially in vehicles or sometimes under tree cover. Iridium call quality was very, very good but they're outrageously expensive. If you want to rent them, all companies will request you pay a warranty that equals the unit's replacement cost so this quickly becomes very expensive.
Glad I saw this. I was going to look into renting a satellite phone from these guys and wasn't sure whether to choose between Iridium or Thuraya, although maybe Thuraya call quality is better in Australia...
#20 Sep 1st, 2009, 02:47
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#20

Sat phone at Kalindi

Sahil's info surely helps here.

It is now mandatory to carry satphone in Kalindikhal route and for good reason. In the Northern Garhwal...it has been the deadliest trek route probably accounting for the most number of deaths in a trek route in Garhwal..probably anywhere else in India.

Not that Satphones are panacea to all problems in the route...it just adds an extra lever of security by way of hastening or initiating a rescue operation in case of a tragedy.

at least that's better than banning the route altogether...the typical knee jerk reaction of the Babus... :-)
#21 Sep 3rd, 2009, 03:23
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#21
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Originally Posted by ashutosh69 View Post It is now mandatory to carry satphone in Kalindikhal route and for good reason.
I am surprised about this, the usual attitude to safety issues in India is to let people sink or swim and force them to take responsibility for themselves.

For instance India, unlike many other countries, does not require tourists to have any form of health insurance.
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#22 Sep 3rd, 2009, 03:38
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#22
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Originally Posted by Haylo View Post I am surprised about this, the usual attitude to safety issues in India is to let people sink or swim and force them to take responsibility for themselves.

For instance India, unlike many other countries, does not require tourists to have any form of health insurance.
Thats right. Probably the abundance of population gives rise to the apparent apathy. . . Or the lack of infrastructure . . Or both may be. However, a deadly trail as this has drawn attention. . .specifically after several incidences of un guided teams meeting with fatalities in the unforgiving terrains. Better late than never i guess.
#23 Jan 13th, 2010, 05:10
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#23
Bad news everyone, it is ILLEGAL to have a Satellite phone in India unless you have special permission; read military.
This poor tourist on a "green" mission around the world was just arrested! Read the article here at the Times Of India
#24 Jan 13th, 2010, 20:27
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#24
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Originally Posted by Roxxi Jaan View Post Bad news everyone, it is ILLEGAL to have a Satellite phone in India unless you have special permission; read military.
This poor tourist on a "green" mission around the world was just arrested! Read the article here at the Times Of India
Thanks Roxxi, for putting this link here !!

I hope something is done from the Governments side to allow satellite phone for tourists. For Security reasons government in these cases can make a system to keep an eye on these conversations. The calls may be tapped.

But its ridiculous to deprive off from a technology which is meant for emergencies.
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#25 Jan 13th, 2010, 21:02
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#25
Interesting story! Thousands of people have probably used sat phones in India without realising this! I suppose this poor chap was unlucky as the authorities are only mainly clamping down after sat phones were used in the Mumbai attacks! Eventually they might even clamp down on all sorts of other things such as receiving VOIP calls via the internet that use inward numbers (DID's) with foreign numbers. This was another feature used in the Mumbai attacks.

With regards to these wonderful old acts that they arrested this poor chap on, according to the Telegraph Act and Wireless Act, I think officially it is also still illegal to use a cordless phone in India without specific written permission!
#26 Jan 13th, 2010, 21:07
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#26
I just know from 90s and early 2000s when I was active in Indian Himalayas. Use of Sat phones, Radios or even GPS by Private teams was very restricted. Team had to apply in advance thru IMF for a permit to use them. Even a GPS had to be declared. So mandatory use of sat phone is a news to me. Talking about Search and Rescue in indian himalayas... That was then a myth. I don't know if things have changed now, I dont think so. Given the huge distances and height of Himalayan range and distant Airbases european style Heli rescue is not really a possibility. And anything else too slow to save life in case of big mountain accident. Yes, Team pinned on a lower terrain or a fractured leg can helped by a distant ground team but if hit by an avalance or small team in a crevase... I don't think sat phone will help.

--R
#27 Jan 14th, 2010, 04:38
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#27
To all reading this:
If you have a Sat phone and you are in India and you do not have permission for it then be prepared for the consequences. Apparently this "law" is NOT posted anywhere and I'm still looking for it in all the Government and Visa Websites but you are expected to be "PSYCHIC" and know this law exists. Whether you are innocent and ignorant of this law or not, it will cost you jail time and a lot of hassle...nothing personal just prepare yourselves.
Peace everyone
Last edited by Roxxi Jaan; Jan 14th, 2010 at 04:39.. Reason: add txt
#28 Jan 20th, 2010, 18:46
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#29 Jan 20th, 2010, 18:48
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#29

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxxi Jaan View Post To all reading this:
If you have a Sat phone and you are in India and you do not have permission for it then be prepared for the consequences. Apparently this "law" is NOT posted anywhere and I'm still looking for it in all the Government and Visa Websites but you are expected to be "PSYCHIC" and know this law exists. Whether you are innocent and ignorant of this law or not, it will cost you jail time and a lot of hassle...nothing personal just prepare yourselves.
Peace everyone
Wow! Lots of sat phone discussion taking place. Especially in light of what happened to Andy Pag! The bloke was trying to do some good, travelling use bio fuel and what have you. Inadvertently he seems to have violated provisions of the Information Technology Act, the Telegraph Act and the Wireless Act. What I think landed him in soup, and worked against him was:

a) Foreigner; Fair skinned (read: Headley part 2 alert);
b) Travelled via the middle east (and OMG Pakistan!!!);
c) India's complete lackadaisical and careless approach to the entire subject of sat phones (how else would you qualify an apathy towards not recording the same under its million central laws!);
d) Posession of the same in an urban area( Even though Iv heard his defence has been that he last used it in Iran! CHRIST!!!)

HOWEVER, despite the predicament of the poor fellow, Im inclined to believe that a) for places that require an ILP one would anyway require a Sat Phone, and b) When one uses the same in the mountains under hapless conditions, the authorities would refrain from actually cracking down on one.

That said, I urge all of you to exercise tremendous caution in the event you propose using one in the future, and especially if you're planning on importing sim cards

Cheers all!
#30 May 23rd, 2010, 20:36
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#30

New Rules regarding import of Sat Phones into India

From the VFS Important Announcement page; VFS are the official visa outsourcing company for all Indian visas in the UK.

Quote:
Import of Satellite Phones into India

In case of import of satellite phone as cargo: a declaration is to be given by the person importing the goods about details of goods

In case of satellite phones being brought in baggage/ hand baggage: satellite phones without license issued by the Department of Telecommunication would be detained/ confiscated, as per the existing procedures till the time the holder of the satellite phones is able to produce a license issued by the DoT.
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