Limitations of Satellite Phones

While satellite phones work essentially anywhere on earth, there are some physical and political limitations.

Satellite phones need clear line of sight to the satellite in order to connect to the network and make a call. This means that satellite phones will not work indoors (without additional equipment), or in urban areas around tall buildings, or in forests where the canopy may be too dense for the signal to get through.

There are a number of countries around the world where use of a satellite phone may require special permits, or are considered illegal.


Many electronics are forbidden in Cuba, including satellite phones. You cannot bring or ship a satellite phone into Cuba unless you have a permit from the Cuban Ministry of Informatics and Communications. Cuba restricts the use of satellite phones because they’re seen as tools for subversive purposes; being caught with one can lead to arrest, time in prison, or an espionage charge.

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 IndiaRead more.

Other countries where satellite phones are restricted or illegal.
Bangladesh, Chad, China, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, 

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