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Satellite Phones


Satellite Phones > How Satellite Phones Work

satellite phone Satellite phones, sometimes called "satphones," are mobile phones that communicate via orbiting satellites.  On the high seas or in remote areas of the world, satellite phones can often be the only telecommunication service available.  Satellite phone communication can be expensive, although its cost is sometimes comparable to the international mobile roaming rates offered by some GSM carriers.  In addition, their data transmission speeds tend to lag behind those offered by cellular phone and landline service providers.

Since a clear line of sight is required between the antenna and the satellite, satellite phones must generally be used outdoors, and their performance can be degraded by poor weather.  These factors can also limit their ability to receive incoming calls, although external antennas are often used on boats and other locations to enhance their performance and enable their use indoors.

wireless phone and communications satellite Satellite phone systems are costly to construct, and they are notably uncompetitive in populated areas.  Leading service providers include Iridium, Globalstar, and Inmarsat, as well as Ellipso and Thuraya.  Some satellite phones offer AMPS and CDMA network compatibility to provide additional wireless communications options in bad weather or indoors.  Thuraya system users can also access local GSM networks in Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, and parts of Africa.

Satellite phone numbers usually include special country codes.  For instance, Iridium satellite phones are issued with country codes +8816 or +8817; Globalstar phones are issued with codes +8818 or +8819; and Inmarsat phones are issued with codes +870 through +874.  Ellipso satellite phones use country codes +8812 and +8813, while Thuraya phones use country code +88216.

Satellite phones have a reputation for being rather bulky, but they are becoming smaller and more portable; most of them do need a large antenna.  On, you will find leading satellite phone solution providers who feature a wide range of wireless products and services for marine, aeronautical, vehicular, jobsite, and handheld applications.

Shop for Satellite Phones

  • Iridium
    Provider of global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the earth, including oceans, airways and Polar Regions.  Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas through its constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites and in-orbit spares.  The Iridium service is used by a wide range of industries, government bodies, and utilities.
  • Globalstar
    This handheld satellite phone service provides voice and data services to businesses, communities and individuals around the world.
  • Inmarsat
    This global mobile satellite communications firm features a versatile and reliable satellite network.  It offers broadband services and solutions to enterprise, maritime and aeronautical users around the globe.
  • Thuraya
    Offers dual-mode terminals that offer satellite and GSM connectivity.  This flexibility is designed to ensure cost-effective and continuous wireless roaming capabilities.  Thuraya subscribers can continue using their national land-based mobile network, and can automatically switch to Thuraya satellite mode in areas beyond the range of the terrestrial system.

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