An Insider’s Guide to Satellite Phones

US Navy Using Satellite Phone

Photo Courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org

In the wake of the most recent natural disasters along the East Coast and across Oklahoma, the importance and effectiveness of satellite phones has become a hot topic of discussion in national news outlets across America. In March, Forbes contributing writer Marc Weber Tobias wrote about the benefits of owning or renting a satellite phone and provided tips on selecting the right device. Below is a brief summary of his article.

Selecting a Satellite Phone

According to Weber Tobias, consumers can expect to spend between $600 and $1700 for a satellite phone depending on the network, and airtime can be prepaid or obtained on a monthly service contract. Before selecting a satellite handset, Weber Tobias recommends that consumers weigh a number of different factors including cost, ease of use, geographic coverage requirements, data and WiFi capabilities, and feature requirements such as a panic alarm or GPS.

Although satellite phones look and feel like cell phones, there are not one in the same. Although they will work in almost every area in the world, satellite phones will normally not function properly indoors or any location where the signal is blocked. Additionally, unlike cell phones, satellite phones have external antennas that must be extended to function properly and special international numbers. It should also be noted that incoming calls to a satellite phone can be expensive and the voice quality is significantly less than what you’ve grown accustomed to as a cell phone user. Finally, in regards to choosing a satellite network, Weber Tobias recommends either Iridium or Inmarsat for their reliable service and truly global coverage.

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