Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said armed as well as para-military forces will be able to make calls to their families using satellite phone for Re 1 per minute from Thursday.
The current call rate for most of such connections was Rs 5 per minute, although some subsidised ones paid Re 1.
“On the eve of Diwali, we are announcing that Armed forces and para-military forces stationed in remote areas and tough terrains on borders will be able to make satellite phone calls at the rate of Re 1 per minute, instead of Rs 5 applicable on it. This will enable them to talk their family for longer duration,” Sinha said.
The minister also announced that no rental will be charged from security forces from tomorrow.
“At present, Rs 500 monthly rent is charged for satellite phone connections from security forces. From tomorrow (Thursday) onwards, they will not need to pay any rental,” Sinha said.
Tata Communications were earlier providing satellite phone service but now the state-run telecom firm BSNL will provide it.
The call charge was Re 1 in 2009-10 to begin with, to be revised every 5 years.
At present there are 2,500 satellite phone connections operational in the country.