Satellite Phone Buying: A Comprehensive Guide

Ever since mobile phones were created, they have quickly changed the way people have communicated with each other. It has allowed for people to communicate with others anywhere and any time, with a convenience previously unheard of.

The only change that has taken place over the years is the continual increase of how important a mobile phone has become in people’s lives. With the smartphone, a ton of new features have been added like emails, internet capabilities, games, and so much more.

If there is one thing that we have learned though, it is that unfortunate events happen when you least expect it. Things like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes could happen at any time. If these natural disasters or other emergencies knock down or damage cell towers, then mobile phone usage is put to a halt.

One thing that humanity is good at though is coming up with alternative solutions to problems. For this problem, they have created the satellite phone.

What is a Satellite Phone?

At its core, a mobile phone is really a device that sends and receives signals. Most of the important capabilities of the mobile phone is done through simple signals. Radio signals to be exact.

When people send a text message, a signal is sent from the cell phone’s radio transmitter. The data is then created to an electrical signal and sent to the nearest cell tower, surfing along on the radio waves.

When you receive a text message, the signal is sent from the cell tower to your phone via the radio waves to your phone’s radio receiver.

A key component to these things is the cell towers that are strewn about the land. Without these cell towers, the signals cannot move back and forth. Therefore, information cannot be passed between cell phones.

However, that doesn’t mean that no phone can communicate with one another.

Enter satellite phones. Rather than relying on cell towers, they rely on a fleet of satellites in orbit. These satellites are either near the equator or geostationary, or situated 500 to 1,000 miles above the Earth’s orbit. The latter is otherwise known as low Earth orbit satellites.

Since satellite phones have their signals go back and forth through these satellites, it means that it bypasses the natural process of cellular phones (via the cell towers). It also means that things like earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and coverage problems are not a factor at all.

Thus, depending on the satellite mobile carrier you sign up with, you could use a satellite phone virtually anywhere in the world. It is the perfect communication and emergency device that can be used during emergencies and in the far corners of the world that normally don’t have working signals.

A Comprehensive Guide to Buying a Satellite Phone

Previously, satellite phones were usually for government personnel, those in the army, and people who did search and rescue operations among others. However, times are changing, and they have become more attractive and useful to the common person due to several factors.


First of all, a number of satellite phone networks have cropped up. They have developed and launched numerous satellites into orbit to create their own satellite phone network. This has afforded consumers a choice between networks.

The current satellite phone companies include Iridium, Thuraya, and Inmarsat.

Iridium has more than 60 low Earth orbit satellites. This allows for complete coverage in most, if not all, places on the planet. The only weak spots are when a person is near the equator, but this doesn’t take away from the quality of Inmarsat.

Thuraya on the other hand uses geo-synchronous satellites. As of 2017, they have 2 over certain parts of the Earth. One is over Singapore and the other off the eastern coast of the continent of Africa.

Their coverage roughly spans around 70% of the globe. However, this 70% covers important areas such as Australia, Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe. Today, it provides signals to at least 110 countries.

Finally comes Inmarsat. They currently have 14 geo-stationary satellites. As such, their coverage is fantastic and covers most of the parts of the world. The only two parts untouched by their coverage would be the poles.

Phone Models

Just like mobile phones, the different satellite phone companies also have their own phone models. Each of these models differ largely due to the features that they have.

Iridium for example offers the Iridium 9555. If you are looking for the best value, for an Iridium satellite phone, this one is it. It is small and lightweight, making it an easy addition to your travels anywhere in the world.

It also allows people to text others, send emails, and even surf the net. As such, it is much like a smartphone with the capabilities and signal of a satellite phone.

There are many other satellite phone models that you should definitely research and consider prior to purchasing. All of them would depend on your needs. Other things would include

Costs and Service Plans

Finally come costs and service plans. When it comes down to it, how much will you be spending for your new satellite phone?

For the phone units, the satellite phones can go as low as just $499. However, price matters with the units you will purchase. A phone that costs less will have lesser capabilities. These include a smaller size, lesser features, even lesser battery life.

On the opposite spectrum, satellite phones can go up to as much as $1,500 and above.

For basic plans, there are some providers that offer monthly ones that cost just $40. This monthly plan gives you 10 minutes of talk time. If you go over, you’ll be billed on top of your monthly costs.

These plans largely differ with the company that you sign up with though. Thus, we urge you to do your research and find the best deals that you can find in your area. Most of these plans will have you signing on for a whole year, so it is important to make the right decision.

Buy a Satellite Phone Now

We at Satellite Phone Review hope that this guide will help you make the decision of purchasing your very own satellite phone.

The world is a beautiful place, ripe for exploration and experiences. Every twist and turn has something new that will allow you to add more to your life.

The truth though is that the world is also one filled with uncertainty. Things come that people don’t expect. With a satellite phone by your side though, you take away some of that uncertainty and always have a fragment of control as you communicate freely throughout the world.

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