Is Satellite Phone and Service for You: Everything You Need To Know

If you’ve ever wondered if satellite phones and services are for you, then you’re not alone. Knowing the differences between a satellite phone network and a normal mobile phone network can seem daunting, and that’s only the beginning.

You’ll have to choose a satellite phone plan and device that meets your needs, and there are so many options it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s start with some basic information about satellite phones’ advantages and the technologies they use to keep you connected.

The following article will help you start your journey of knowledge.

Table of Contents

Advantages of Satellite Phone Service


The main advantage of satellite phone service is guaranteed worldwide connectivity when you need it most. Satellite phone calls will work anywhere on Earth and can provide a lifeline in the event of an emergency.

Satellite phone service works anywhere you need it.

Caption: Satellite phone service works anywhere you need it.

Ease of Use

Satellite phones are as easy to use as any modern mobile phone. You won’t find big feature lists like on a mobile phone, since satellite phones are made for simple communication through calls and texts. This means you’ll never need to waste time placing calls when minutes matter.

Not Just for Calls

Data usage on satellite phones allows users to communicate with messages via simple texts, send and receive GPS information, and retrieve weather and map-related information.

These are all crucial functions that data can provide and are widely available.

This makes satellite phone internet different from traditional forms of internet access that allow you to use endless data for apps and streaming. 

Rental is Available

If you only need satellite phone services for a trip, then you can rent the equipment you need for as long as you need it and save on the upfront cost of a device. Having the option to rent is a great way to save money and get the reliability you need from satellite phone service.

Great for Emergencies

When a natural disaster occurs, many typical services fail, including mobile phone networks.  Having access to a satellite phone during these situations can prove to be life or death.

A satellite phone could get you the help you need.

Caption: A satellite phone could get you the help you need.

Better Security

Satellite phones bypass mobile phone towers and communicate via satellite networks.  This means there are fewer security concerns than traditional mobile phones that constantly access mobile towers.  Since satellite phones have a limited number of functions to serve, there are also far fewer apps that pose security risks.

Peace of Mind

We’ve all experienced the panic of being somewhere without mobile phone reception.  It is a sinking feeling that you can’t escape until you see a bar or two on your screen again.  A satellite phone can serve as an antidote to this feeling because you’ll always have a signal.

Disadvantages of Satellite Phone Service


There is no getting around the fact that satellite phone service can be expensive.  Upfront equipment costs are the same as any modern mobile phone, and minutes can be expensive.

 Minutes can add up if you don’t plan for them.

Caption:  Minutes can add up if you don’t plan for them.

Limited Uses

Satellite phone service is intended to be a means of communication.  This limited use can be an issue for anyone who is used to the unlimited data of mobile phones with countless apps.

Line of Sight Limitations

When using a satellite phone, you’ll need to ensure you have a clear view of the sky for the best chance at a good connection.  Severe weather or physical obstructions such as mountains and forests can lower the effectiveness of satellite phones.  In fact, the same limitations that affect TV reception can affect your satellite phone signal.

You’ll need to find an opening to have a connection.

Caption:  You’ll need to find an opening to have a connection.

Frequencies Used by Satellite Phone

Every major satellite phone provider uses the L-band of frequencies between 1525 and 1661 MHz. This means that satellite phone frequencies rest in the middle of the range used by mobile phones, which operate between 600 – 900 and 1700 – 2100 MHz.

Since satellite phones operate outside of the range used by mobile phones, radio interference won’t be a concern.

Satellite Phone FAQs

Is Satellite Phone Worth It?

Satellite phone service may be worth it to you if you’ll be traveling to a destination that will not have mobile phone coverage. No matter what you need, there are a wide variety of satellite phone carriers to choose from with similar service offerings.

Who Provides Satellite Phone Service?

There are three great satellite phone service providers:  Globalstar, Inmarsat, and Iridium.  All three specialize in satellite phones and offer various devices and service plans.

What Kind of Phones Are Available?

Satellite phones often have a simple appearance and provide access to a small set of features by design.  The usual long feature lists are replaced by a more rugged build quality, meant to withstand the elements.

How Do Satellite Phone Plans Work?

Satellite phone plans use minutes like most mobile phone plans used to.  These minutes can be purchased in advance and loaded onto your plan, or you can opt for a monthly allotment of minutes.  If you go for a monthly allotment of minutes, you can find a plan which offers rollover, so you don’t lose any.

Does It Really Work Anywhere?

If it is a spot on Earth you can set foot on, then you can get satellite phone service there.  In order to get a proper signal, though, you may need to move into the open to ensure you have a line of sight for your phone antenna.

A satellite phone probably won’t work on the Moon.

Caption: A satellite phone probably won’t work on the Moon.

Also, there are a few countries around the world that have restrictions on the use of satellite phones for state security-related reasons, but they are few and far between.


We live in a world that thrives on staying connected, and sometimes you find yourself somewhere where this isn’t possible with traditional mobile phone service.

Satellite phone services allow you to stay connected to the world no matter where you happen to be. This is because every satellite phone system utilizes a comprehensive, worldwide network of satellites, so you’ll never need to worry about signal availability or mobile tower locations.

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