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Are Satellite Phones Illegal: Find Out Countries Where They’re Banned


If you fall into the category of people that occasionally spend time away from civilization, you can attest to the fact that cell phones are not always good enough to reach the people you want to reach because of limitations in network coverage. The limitations associated with cell phones means adventure seekers might not always be able to use them. Since cell phones cannot always be trusted, a good number of people that want to go into the deepest parts of the earth and want to keep in touch rely on satellite phones to help them communicate.

Satellite phones can come in handy in moments of emergency and can help save lives. Regardless of this, it appears they cannot be used in absolutely every part of the world. Although generally legal, satellite phones are not legal in all countries. This means the answer to the question ‘are satellite phones legal’ is strongly dependent on what part the world you are in. 

Since satellite phones are considered illegal in some countries, if you have any plans of getting a satellite phone, it is important that you know the countries where you will be arrested for owing a satellite phone. If you fail to do this, you could get into a lot of trouble while on an adventure. 

About Satellite Phones

Before going on to look into the countries where satellite phones bare considered illegal, it is important that you know the important things about satellite phones.

Satellite phones can be used in making calls and sending messages just like cell phones. However, unlike cell phones that get signals from cell towers, satellite phones get their signals from satellite in the space.  Due to how they were designed to work, satellite phones do not disappoint. Regardless of how trustworthy they can be, they are not used in some countries for various reasons. 

Who Should Get a Satellite Phone?

Satellite phones might have been associated with a select few in the past. However, at the moment, there is really no limitations to who can make use of a satellite phone. These phones come with several benefits and virtually everyone can get a thing or two from using them. In as much as anyone can get a satellite phone, these phones seem more apt for some people. If you spend a lot of time travelling deep into the mountains, fish in high-mountain lakes, and spend time in the Safari, you just might be unable to communicate effectively with a cell phone. This means you just might have to settle for a satellite phone if it is not illegal in the country you are in. If it is considered illegal, then, you might get into situations that might not be too easy for you to deal with so long as communication is concerned. 

Limitations of Satellite Phones

Satellite phones might have a reputation for working in the deepest of places. Nonetheless, they are associated with some limitations. These limitations are in two categories; political and physical.


Some countries in the world have made it illegal to make use of satellite phones.  That’s not all. In countries where satellite phones might not be considered illegal, if you must use one, you might need to get a special permit.


While it might seem like satellite phones are all perfect, if they do not have the luxury of an open space, they might not function. This implies that they might not work well in forests, in urban areas, and indoors. 

Countries Where Satellite Phones are Illegal

Satellite phones appear legal in the western world. However, they are not allowed in absolutely every country. Some countries where it is considered illegal to make use of a satellite phone are;


 There are several electronic devices that you will not be allowed to use when in Sudan. So, if you have any plans of visiting this country, it important that you find out the exact satellite phones that cannot be used in Sudan. That’s not all. If you come in with a banned device, it will be seized by customs. 

Sri Lanka

If you must make use of a satellite phone in Sri Lanka, you will need to be a journalist. With the right license from the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, media personal in Sri Lanka can make use of satellite phones. However, for every other person, satellite phones are illegal.


Satellite phones are not out rightly banned in Russia.  However, if you have any plans of making use of one, you will need to have your SIM card registered up to six months before getting a satellite phone.

Republic of Chad

The Republic of Chad is currently battling terrorism. Due to this, anyone that is found with a satellite phone could be considered an enemy of the state. It is impossible to get a permit to use a satellite phone.

North Korea

It is impossible to make use of a satellite phone in North Korea. If you are found with one, you might be headed for jail.


It is still unclear what the legal status of satellite phones in Nigeria is. However, one thing that is clear is satellite phones are illegal in some parts of Nigeria. If you are found with a satellite phone in Northeastern Nigeria, you will be arrested as it has become a tool for people planning terrorist attacks. 


If you must make use of a satellite phone in India, you will need to get one that uses the Inmarsat network. Also, before getting one, you will need to get permission from the Department of Telecommunication. 


It is impossible to ship a satellite phone into Cuba. If you must get any satellite phone into Cuba, you must obtain appropriate permission from the Cuban Ministry of Informatics and Communications

Can You Call a Cell Phone with a Satellite Phone?

Yes, satellite phones were deigned to put calls through to other satellite phones and cell phones.

Is It Possible To Track a Satellite Phone?

Yes, you can trace lots of modern satellite phones. This can be done through the phone’s GPS system. In as much as this is possible, it is not a very easy thing to do. It can only be achieved by  skilled people. 

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