India is building a dedicated high-beam, antenna to provide satellite phone services, a senior space scientist said Monday.

“We are in the process of building a high-beam antenna to be deployed on board a satellite for providing satellite phone (satphone) services using S-band transponder. We can connect handheld devices when it is launched in a year or so,” former Indian space agency chairman G. Madhavan Nair told reporters here.

The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has already designed the huge antenna that will be mounted on the spacecraft for dedicated satphone services.

“Currently, some foreign satellites are being used for satphone services in the country. Development work is going on to synthesize the antenna. It will be deployed in one of the communication satellites with S-band transponder,” Nair said on the margins of a summit on the Indian semiconductor industry.

Telecom revolution in the past decade has led to a phenomenal growth of mobile services in India using GPRS (general packet radio service) CDMA (code division multiple access) technologies.

As the world's fastest growing telecom market, India already has about 500 million mobile users for a billion-plus population.

INMARSAT (International Maritime Satellite Organisation) operates a constellation of geo-stationary satellites designed to extend phone, fax and data communications the world over through handheld devices.

Asked about the weaponization of space by countries like China, which had developed an anti-satellite weapon, Nair said space-based assets built by India were used for only national development.

“Though we have to ensure the security of our satellites, our declared policy is to use the space assets for peaceful purposes. I don't thing that the government has changed its policy,” Nair said after inaugurating the two-day semicon summit, organised by the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA).