All You Need to Know- Why Are Satellite Phones Illegal?

Satellite phones are an excellent investment for globe travellers, but some governments limit or prohibit their use in various ways.

But why are satellite phones illegal?

Satellite phones are outlawed in a few nations due to the constant threat of terrorism. Possession of one can result in arrest and phone seizure. Because of multiple recent acts of terrorism, the government in most states has considered satellite phones to be a threat to national security.

If you are looking for further info into it, you are in the right place. Fasten your seatbelt.

What Is a Satellite Phone?

A satellite phone is a communication device that communicates through telecommunications satellites orbiting around the earth. 

Its efficiency is not dependent on terrestrial transmission.Unlike the regular mobile phone in  the GSM network,. The broadcast and received signals from a satellite phone transit through satellites in orbit around the globe. 

The distance between Earth’s satellites is determined by whether they are in low or geostationary orbit.

What Is a Satellite Phone Used for?

A satellite phone is designed to function in areas where a mobile phone is unavailable, suppose in between a drive from salt lake city to denver via i70 or i80. Owing to a lack of network coverage. 

More often,  it is used in remote locations and, at times, amid adverse conditions. On the other hand, newer models are being released with Internet connectivity. 

Some even have “hotspots” and text-messaging capabilities.

Types of Satellite Phones

There are two types of satellite telephone systems. The first one that rely on high-altitude geostationary satellites. It is 35,786 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. This system uses satellites in low earth orbit. Which is from 640 to 1,120 kilometers above the Earth.

Why Are Satellite Phones Illegal? Country Perspectives 

Satellite phones are an excellent tool for those who want to venture off the beaten path. They also want to keep in touch or just have a method to call for aid in an emergency. 

However, certain countries throughout the world are not as accepting of gadgets. You may encounter a number of difficulties if you do not adequately prepare yourself ahead of time.

Illegal sat phones being a threat, a government may impose a ban on satellite phone use. Failure to educate oneself might result in confiscating forbidden things, fines, arrest, and detention. 


Satellite phones are permitted in Russia, but you must obtain prior authorization and register your SIM card. For six months, the registration will be valid. Roskomnadzor is the Russian body to approach for approval of satellite phones.

North Korea

Given that the US government has issued a travel warning for North Korea, you may never have considered it a vacation destination. Satellite phones are outlawed in North Korea, which goes without saying. All types of devices are monitored and searched.

United States

In some regions, the usage of satellite equipment may be outlawed or limited. Taking the device into banned places might result in its seizure. So make sure you do not take your satellite phone while you travel between Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

Always follow all applicable local rules and regulations while using these devices. You can contact your local customs office. If you have more questions.


In China, it is prohibited to own a satellite phone. GPS gadgets, too, are frequently seen as suspect. 

On the other hand, China’s mobile and internet coverage is excellent, even in isolated locations such as Tibet. Getting a SIM cardin China is simple.If you are there for travel. 

However, keep in mind that many Western websites, including Google and most social media platforms, are restricted.


All types of satellite phones are totally prohibited in India. Except if you are using the Inmarsat network. 

Permission from the Indian government’s Department of Telecommunications must be obtained ahead of time. 

Foreigners caught with an unlicensed satellite phone face arrest.


Many technological devices, including satellite phones, are prohibited in Cuba. You need to have authorization or permission from the Cuban Ministry of Informatics and Communications.This will let you to bring or ship a satellite phone into the country. 

Satellite phones are prohibited in Cuba because they are used for subversive objectives. If you’re seen with one, you might get arrest. Charged with prison term, or an espionage accusation.


Which Satellite Phone Add-ons Are Worthwhile to Have?

The best satellite phone add-ons we always recommend having is a spare battery. It’s good if you are on long term travels. The time you might not have access to a power source for charging. It’ll even be helpful if you lose the charger with your smartphone.

Do satellite phones have long-distance or roaming fees?

The Iridium and Inmarsat satellite networks have no long-distance or roaming fees. Globalstar’s network is more regional. You might be charged with Globalstar roaming costs. Only if you go outside of the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean. So check the prices.

Is it preferable to rent a satellite phone or purchase one?

If you plan on using a satellite phone for more than six weeks each year, buying one is probably the best option. Suppose you spend less than a month a year in an area without a dependable landline or cell phone service. For those instances when you need it, we recommend renting a satellite phone daily or monthly.

Final Words

We’ve come to the end of our journey. We hope this has answered your question about “why satellite phones are illegal.”

Replace your antenna only if your satellite phone manufacturer has approved it. Replacing the antennae with unapproved antennas might result in the device being damaged.

That’s all we have to say about it.

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