A satellite phone is a kind of mobile phone that connects to other phones or telephone networks via radio through orbiting satellites instead of cell sites. It means that it can be used in geographic locations that are not covered by cell towers, or in short, in most or all geographic locations on the Earth’s surface. Compared before, satellite phones today are cheaper, lighter, and more powerful. And even though we have the latest and most advanced smartphones in the market today, a satellite phone is still important, especially for people who work in the world’s remotest places.
New York City, as most of us know, is the most populous city in the United States. This also makes it a successful state. So, why would one who lives here think that he needs a satellite phone if he’s in a place rich in cell towers? Well, satellite phones have the reputation as the tool of choice that will keep you connected, safe, and productive when nothing else will.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared if ever natural calamities, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires, damage the power and telecommunication infrastructure. No matter how advanced the New York region is in terms of technology, it does not make it immune to disasters. Did you know that when a cell tower goes down during an emergency, the whole network would be at risk of being overloaded or may fail entirely? With this, having a satellite phone is essential as it bypasses the local system entirely.
If you’re from New York and you are thinking of getting a satellite phone, you can visit https://www.americansatellite.us/ for options on satellite phones and satellite internet devices you can use. If you need more ideas about satellite phones and how to choose one, read on as we’re giving you the ultimate buying guide for satellite phones.
How Does a Satellite Phone Work?
As mentioned earlier, satellite phones use satellites to send and receive signals, unlike mobile phones that use land-based cell towers. Satellites are launched by satellite communications companies into the Earth’s orbit, creating global networks for communication on the ground.
When you call using a satellite phone, it sends a signal up to a satellite, which sends it down to whoever you are trying to call. If the person you are calling uses a regular mobile device, the signal will be patched into a local network by a ground station.
Two Types of Satellite Networks
Satellite networks used by communications companies have two types, so they can give coverage to either a specific targeted area or the whole planet. Here are the two types:
These satellite systems rotate at the same speed as the Earth’s orbit. It means that one satellite can service many countries from its position. When a satellite phone is connected to this type of satellite, it is unlikely to lose signal. They are also likely to receive a signal when in a valley or canyon. However, these satellite networks can’t reach the north or south poles due to their positioning.
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites
LEO satellites, on the other hand, are not locked or fixed to a specific point above the Earth. They orbit around a few hundred kilometers above the surface, allowing them to do a full rotation every 90 minutes. These satellites work together to give a signal to satellite phone users on the ground. They are also made up of a larger network compared to geostationary satellites. Since they orbit around the Earth, these satellites can receive signals in remote locations like in the south and north pole. However, they can have more trouble the closer the signal is to the equator.
Choosing a Satellite Network
When choosing a satellite network, you need to base it on your intended usage and not the number, location, and cost of the handset. There are multiple satellite networks that offer voice communications. Some of the most popular are Iridium, Inmarsat, and Thuraya.
To choose a satellite network, you need to look at the terrain you are traveling into or where you plan to use the handset. Choose based on the antenna technology of the handset and not the network because both can provide you predominantly global coverage. In addition, you also need to consider the call charges and airtime plans of each before selecting any handset or network.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Satellite Phone
Satellite phones are not like mobile phones that you can switch from one SIM card to another to change companies or networks. They are coded for the satellite service and are non-transferable between satellite networks. If you are looking into buying a satellite phone, here are the important things you need to consider:
The type of handset and carrier you need depends on the time you plan to spend on the satellite network. You also need to keep in mind how close you are to the north and south pole when choosing a satellite phone. This way, you can narrow down the communication providers to choose from and successfully connect with them.
Method of Sending and Receiving
Most satellite networks allow users to send and receive calls and SMS from their phones. However, if you want to receive information from the web, like weather reports, social media updates, news, and emails, you need to find a more specific satellite device to get your needs.
Iridium, Inmarsat, and Thuraya all utilize semi-deployed antennas to enable satellites to see their handsets effectively, even if the handset antenna is not open. You also need to look into the battery of the handset if it is easily depleted or not when the antenna is deployed and constantly powered up. Choose carefully which one best suits your requirements.
You also need to consider the plans that you will be using when buying a satellite phone. Like mobile phones, different satellite carriers also offer various plans to go with their phones, with different charges for a satellite phone to satellite phone calls, international calls, and cost per minute.
The cost of the call depends on the carrier. There are also some that charge a flag fall, but this cost is generally put in place by the service provider, such as Optus, Telstra, and more, and not the carrier. With this, it’s also essential to look for a provider that does not have this fee.
When you buy a satellite phone and plan to travel overseas with it, it’s important to first check the restrictions on these in certain countries. Keep in mind that satellite phones can bypass local telephone systems, which can stop local governments’ control and surveillance measures. Some of the countries with restrictions are Burma, China, Cuba, India, and Russia. Therefore, if you will be going to these places with your satellite phone, be sure to check their restrictions first.
Satellite phones are indeed useful to have, especially in disaster response. In fact, reporters and journalists also use them to communicate and report on events in war zones and other calamities. Therefore, if you want to be prepared and still communicate and get help in case a disaster occurs, why not get a satellite phone. It is also very useful when you decide to visit remote areas. We hope this article will help you in buying your very own satellite phone.