There are a few basic features shared by all satellite phones that you should be aware of to choose the one that will work best for you. The first essential thing to remember is that satellite phones are not mobile phones, and they operate on network architecture and radio propagation characteristics that are completely different.
There are certain inherent limits to how and where they function. While a satellite phone can be used almost everywhere on the planet, it will not function inside buildings or any other construction that covers the view of the horizon. There are no Blackberries or iPhones in the satellite world, and they will never replace mobile phones, but they are an excellent insurance policy against cellular network breakdown.
Below are points worth noting that will help you understand the difference between cell phones and SAT phones.
Because of how radio waves travel and the frequencies utilized, phones with their antennas retracted will usually not function. Since Sat phone antennae are on the exterior rather than inside, they must be extended in when making and receiving calls. As a result, you can’t expect to receive phone calls while carrying a satellite phone in your back pocket.
Satellite phones typically have unique worldwide phone numbers, but some, such as Globalstar, also include the U.S. and Canadian phone numbers. The majority of companies offer Direct Inward Dial capabilities, which means you may call the U.S. sat phone number and then over dial (using touch-tone) the actual number allocated to the device.
Many of the networks’ voice quality may be much worse than what you’re accustomed to using cellular phones. This is so because bandwidth is severely limited to optimize power utilization. There may also be a lag between when you speak and when the other person speaks, which is referred to as latency. When using a system that has satellites in geostationary orbit, this may happen.
The satellite phones are all small and light, with some measuring less than a mobile phone’s size. While they all work in the same way as your phone, the antennas, screens, soft buttons, and settings are all different.
Inmarsat has the cheapest and easiest-to-use phone, but it lacks certain features that Iridium has, such as genuinely worldwide coverage. In addition, all systems now enhance the connection between you and the satellite by using GPS to pinpoint your location.
Satellite phones have become popular. They’ve saved lives, provided communications during natural catastrophes, and connected people to the outside world when terrestrial networks went down. For several reasons, cellular networks may be weak and unavailable. However, satellite networks are seldom, if ever, down, which means that if you have a sat phone number, you can nearly always reach emergency services, businesses, government organizations, and friends and family.