If your question is not answered below please do not hesitate to call one of our consultants on 1 800 418 8400.
Why do I need a satphone?
If you need to communicate where or when conventional communication networks are either unreliable or unavailable, a satellite phone will be invaluable. In remote areas, satellite communications are an invaluable way to ensure reliable methods of communications are kept open. Even when in foreign countries with cellular coverage, the affordable call rates offered by satellite networks, may mean they are often cheaper to use than your cellular phone roaming whilst abroad.
Which is the best system for me?
This depends on your exact usage requirement. Please call one of our consultants on 1 800 418 8400 to discuss your exact requirements, or look at the ‘what’s for you’ page.
How much are satellite call charges?
Depending on the network and tariff chosen, they are typically in line with international roaming rates of cellular telephones.
Do satphones work in exactly the same way as mobile phones?
Slightly differently from mobile phones, satellite communications depend on having a clear line of sight with the satellite in the sky. They work most effectively when used outside with as few obstructions (tall buildings, mountains, trees etc) as possible. In remote areas there tends to be less obstacles, but in towns and cities, inside buildings or around built up areas, it can be difficult to get a clear line of sight to the satellite, and signal strength becomes less strong.
There are two types of satellite which the phones we sell use;
– Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite – This is the system which Iridium and Globalstar use. It consists of a large number of small satellites which are constantly moving about in the sky. This means that in order to maintain a good signal you must have a horizon to horizon view of the sky. If your view of the sky is restricted then your signal may become intermittent as your line of sight to the satellite (which takes around 5 minutes to cross the sky) is obscured by the obstacle.
– Geostationary Satellite – This system works by having satellites that remain at the same point in the sky. This means that if you have a clear line of sight in the correct direction then obstructions in other directs should not affect your signal. However if your view in the direction to the satellite is obstructed (by anything other than clouds!) you will not be able to use the service. Also with this system the satellites are always located at points over the equator, this means the closer to the equator you are the higher the satellite is in the sky and so the easier it will be to obtain a signal.
Is there GPS in satphones?
Several handsets have an inbuilt GPS. The latest is the Iridium Extreme which offers a fully featured tracking function and panic button (additional subscription costs for data and access to tracking system). Others including the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro and Thuraya XT also include GPS and the user can easily send a text message of their GPS with just a few key presses.
Can I send email using a satellite phone?
The most handheld units have a data capacity. However, data rates are relatively slow and the data function is not recommended for heavier use than simple text emails. Iridium have recently introduced a wifi module for the Extreme and 9555 handsets which means easier wireless setup of PCs and the ability to use email on Blackberry handsets (native email), in addition iPad, iPhone and Android smart phones with a free email app. Thuraya handsets offer the fastest handheld data service at up to 50kbps. For more demanding requirements, higher speed data service is available using BGAN units on the Inmarsat network which offer data rates up to 492kbps.
Is there anywhere in the world that I can’t use it?
Almost no-where however, not all the networks we sell have global coverage, so careful selection of network that best suits your needs is advisable. The also won’t work inside buildings without an external antenna (much like a television). There are a few countries that forbid or place restrictions on the use of satellite services – it is worth checking with the embassy or consulate of your destination country prior to your departure.
Is there a prepaid system?
The Iridium, Thuraya and Inmarsat networks all offer a prepaid service. Prepay credit can be bought and topped up in a similar way to mobile phones.
Can I send text messages?
Most of the systems we sell support text messaging. Most of them work best and most economically by sending text messages from the satellite phone to email addresses. Text messaging to mobile phones is more expensive and does not work to/from all mobile networks, however, in the age of smart phones the sms to email capability overcomes this.
Can you supply everything I need?
Yes. We can supply equipment, accessories and airtime (service). Please call us to discuss your requirements.