British mobile maker to launch satellite phone services next year: Report

Published on Sep 06, 2022 07:43 PM IST

Bullitt is planning to come with a satellite connected headset which will facilitate its users to communicate through text messages without the need for an existing telecom network signal.

Satellite phones use constellation of satellites to communicate.(Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash)
Satellite phones use constellation of satellites to communicate.(Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash)
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

Stuck in bad weather or in a far-flung region with no mobile connectivity, Satellites phones (SAT) are eventually the only option to communicate in these precarious situations. The upcoming iPhone 14 is expected to come with satellite connectivity whereas Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Bharti Mittal backed OneWeb program in India are already working to offer satellite communication services. However, a report by BBC states that a British mobile phone maker is set to steal the show by planning to launch its satellite services by February of next year.

Bullitt is planning to come with a satellite connected headset which will facilitate its users to communicate through text messages without the need for an existing telecom network signal.

The BBC’s report says that through an app- to be developed by Bullitt, receivers can get SMS free of charge as only the phone owner - who will send the message, has to subscribe to the service. The company is yet to reveal the photos and the price of the device.

How does satellite phone works ?

Unlike conventional cell phones, which have a network of ground-based cell towers to transmit and receive signals, a satellite phone connects directly to constellation of satellites.

When we make a call from satellite phone to someone who has a traditional cell phone, the signal is relayed from the satellite phone on the ground to one of the satellites within the line of sight.

This satellite captures the signal and further transmits it to the other satellite based on the destination (number of intermediate satellites depend on the receiving and transmitting place).

Next, the call is relayed from the nearest destination satellite to the ground station (Gateway). The call is then transferred to the nearest the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to deliver it to the recipient. PSTN will then provide further infrastructure for public telecommunication.

However, the use of satellite service has not got good traction because of its high cost and complex regulatory approval.

What are the regulations for satellite phones in India ?

Department of Telecommunications(DoT) has prescribed the rules to avail the service of satellite phones in India.

1. Specific permission or a no objection certificate needs to be obtained from the DoT.

2. A satellite handset and SIM can only be brought from BSNL, as only BSNL has been authorised to use its Gateway installed in India for provision and operation of satellite-based service.

What is the state of Tele-communication via satellite services in India ?

Indian citizens were advised by DoT in November last year to not pre-subscribe to the Elon Musk's Starlink Internet Services as it has not yet got licence necessary to give the service.

OneWeb has applied for approval to the Indian government authorities.

The Apple iPhone 14 is rumoured to have satellite connectivity features which would allow to call even in the absence of mobile signal. It is likely be delayed for Indian users due to prior requirement of legal permission.

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