Satellite vs. Cell Phones: What the Heck’s the Difference?


Rent a Satellite Phone in San DiegoLike most folks, I use my smartphone for just about everything. Need to look up a recipe? Smartphone. Need to send a text to a friend? Smartphone. Need to call home? Smartphone. Need to post a picture online? Smartphone. Need to send an email to a client? Smartphone. To be honest, I could do most of the tasks I need to complete in any given day using just the device in my pocket. But apparently, smartphones aren’t always the best way to communicate.

Satellite phones, which rely on a network of satellites that are either fixed above the Equator or in Low Earth Orbit, can operate in almost any condition – hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, flooding, etc. – making them a great insurance policy to communicate with the world should disaster strike (or if you’re traveling off the grid). So what’s the difference between the two types of phones? We’re glad you asked. Below, we’ve outlined a list of differences, courtesy of the smart folks at Forbes Magazine.

  • Antennas: A satellite phone’s antenna is external as opposed to internal, which means they must be extended to function properly (e.g. make and receive calls). Unlike with a smartphone, you can’t walk around with a sat-phone in your pocket and expect to receive calls.
  • International phone numbers: Sat-phones usually have special international numbers, although some have U.S. and Canadian numbers assigned. According to the article, most of the companies have Direct Dial Capability, which means that you can get a U.S. number to call, then overdial the actual number assigned to the handset.
  • Calls to this type of phone can be expensive from the public network (up to $10 a minute). If you intend to make calls on your sat-phone, be sure to select a carrier that has Direct Inward Dial, or overdial capabilities.

For the complete list of differences, click here to read the article from Forbes in its entirety.

Satellite Phone Rentals in San Diego, CA

Where to Rent a Sat Phone in Southern CaliforniaPlanning an exotic adventure or thinking about signing up for next year’s Great Pacific Race? Don’t leave home before reaching out to Satmodo. Based out of San Diego, Satmodo is a satellite phone rental store that provides the very best sat phones and mobile internet solutions for rent or purchase.

Satmodo-San Diego also offers a simple, online-only shopping experience and 24-hour support before, during, and after your rental or purchase. Additionally, the company offers equipment and service from some of the best names in the industry including Iridium, Inmarsat, and Globalstar and its knowledgeable staff can help you find the right product and the right price.

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