The Government of India has issued an advisory that the use of Thuraya/Irridium satellite phone in India are banned and unauthorised/illegal in India under Section 6 of Indian Wireless Act and Section 20 of Indian Telegraph Act.
Thuraya sets will be seized and the holder can be prosecuted under Section 6 of Indian Wireless Act and Section 20 of Indian Telegraph Act. Therefore travellers are advised not to carry such satellite phones to India.
ÒSatellite phones are permitted:-
(i) With specific permission/ NOC from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India; or
(ii) As provisioned by M/s BSNL in accordance with license granted to M/s BSNL for provision and operation of satellite based service using Gateway installed in India.Ó
Bringing a satellite phone into India can lead to detention and / or arrest. The ownership and operation of satellite communications systems and amateur radio equipment is strictly regulated in India.
Satellite phones have to either be purchased in India from an authorised distributor or can be imported into India after receiving permission from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Iridium and Thuraya satellite phones are illegal in India.
Following the Mumbai terror attacks in 2011, the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) banned the use of Thuraya & Iridium satellite phones and infrastructure in 2012; restrictions were already in place in 2010, for similar reasons, under provisions in the Indian Telegraph Act.
Reference: Section 6 of Indian Wireless Act and Section 20 of Indian Telegraph Act.
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