Arrested in India for his satellite phone, American asks Redpoint for help

Posted on Posted in Redpoint Resolutions

Are sat phones legal in your destination?

The legislative assembly in Trivandrum

A 31-year-old California man traveling in India for a friend’s wedding was arrested at Trivandrum International Airport in Kerala after authorities found an illegal satellite phone in his bag. He was taken to a local police station for interrogation, and then detained at multiple locations until he was allowed to speak to an attorney. A city court remanded him to 14 days judicial custody.

The man’s friend put him in touch with Redpoint Operations for logistical help. Redpoint worked through local diplomatic channels to try to improve communications, and assisted the man with hotels, ground transportation and travel plans as he was being released. Ultimately the man paid the legal fines, and was allowed to exit the country before his judicial custody expired.

The traveler had been unaware that Iridium satellite phones are forbidden in India under the Wireless and Telegraph Act. The incident puts forth the question: How many travelers are aware of these laws, and others around the world?

  •  In India, Inmarsat satellite devices are legal, but Iridium and Globalstar devices are not. (Inmarsat is a popular technology within the maritime industry, while Iridium is widely considered a more reliable choice for land-based adventure travelers.) In 2014, the Indian government considered lifting those restrictions for the growing number of adventure travelers transiting through the country, but thus far has not.
  • In Russia, anti-terrorism regulations were put into effect in 2012 mandating that all foreign-owned satellite devices must be registered, allowing the legal operation of that device for up to six months.
  • Other countries with sat phone bans include: Burma, China, Cuba and North Korea.

Cavalry combines the best medevac insurance with travel insurance benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost baggage, primary medical expense coverages, and more. Cavalry is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel risk security company owned and operated by special operations veterans and physicians.

Operating for over a half decade, Redpoint covers almost 10 million people worldwide and has evacuated clients from all seven continents.