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Satellite Phones

Connectivity in even the most extreme environments Comparing satellite phones is vital when matching the mission critical needs of your application with the function and capabilities of the respective satellite communications equipment. A satellite phone is only as good as the network behind it. Each network: Iridium, Inmarsat, and Globalstar have various strengths and benefits. The comparison chart below is designed to help potential customers select which satellite phone is best suited for the job at hand in terms of QoS (Quality of Service), potential limitations, and advantages one handset may have over another. A satellite phone is only as good as the satellite network that it operates on, and Iridium is currently the only satellite constellation to offer its customers seamless global coverage, including both Polar regions. Inmarsat's IsatPhone handsets, while somewhat more economical, lack coverage in the extreme northern and southern latitudes due to their stationary satellites over the Equator. Globalstar is a good economical choice for users in the Continental USA, Canada or Caribbean, but not recommended for travelers outside these areas.

Satellite Phone Comparison Chart & 2017 Buyer's Guide

  Iridium Extreme Iridium 9555 IsatPhone 2 Globalstar
GSP-1700 (SPOT)
MPN/UPC CPKT1101 BPKT0801 885562000343 706166016267
Pricing (approx) $1,295 $1,099 $699 $499
Coverage Global Global Global (Minus Poles) Regional
Weight 8.7oz (247g) 9.38oz (266g) 11.14oz (316g) 7.05oz (200g)
Size 5.5”x2.36”x1.06”
5.3” x 2.2” x 1.5”
Battery Life 4hr talk / 30hrs standby 3hr talk / 30hrs standby 8hr talk / 160hr standby 4hr talk / 36 standby
Antenna Retractable omni-directional Retractable omni-directional Fold-out directional Fold-out directional
Display Monochrome Monochrome Color Color
Durability MIL-STD 810F N/A IK04 N/A
Ingress Protection IP65 N/A IP65 N/A
Network 66 Low Earth Orbit satellites 66 Low Earth Orbit satellites 3 Geostationary satellites 40 Orbiting Satellites
Text Messaging (SMS) Supported Supported Supported 35 Character Receive Only
GPS Yes N/A Yes Yes - During Call
Interfaces Mini USB, Audio Mini USB, Audio Micro USB, Bluetooth Mini USB, Audio
Data Connectivity Yes, via USB or AxcessPoint Yes, via USB or AxcessPoint Yes, via USB or AxcessPoint Yes, via USB or AxcessPoint
Data Speed
2.4 Kbps SLOW 2.4 Kbps SLOW 2.4 Kbps SLOW 9.6 Kbps SLOW
Emergency SOS Yes No Yes No

Satellite Phone FAQ's

  • Why do people need satellite phones?
    • Most people who need a satellite phone work, live, or travel to areas without traditional landline or cellular coverage. Since satellite phones do not rely on phone transmission lines or cellular towers, they are able to function in more remote locations. 
  • How quickly can I get a satellite phone if I order it today?
    • We always have the major mobile satellite phone brands in stock and ready for shipment. Most orders placed prior to 2pm Pacific time will ship same day from our Seattle, WA location.
  • Should I rent or buy a satellite phone?
    • If you have a need for a satellite phone for more than six weeks per year, then purchasing a satellite phone would be your best option. If you only travel to remote areas one month or less per year, then a rental will be your most economical choice.
  • Do you offer refurbished satellite phones?
    • We often have open-box units that are like new, but have opened packaging that can not be sold as new. Inventory can vary from week to week. Email us at to regarding availability.
  • Which satellite phone has the best coverage?
    • Iridium, Inmarsat, and Globalstar all have different levels of coverage and some may work better in different areas. Iridium has the most comprehensive coverage and will work anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky.
  • Can I access the Internet from my satellite phone?
    • Most satellite phones have limited connectivity to the Internet, but the data rates are very slow.  Globalstar is the fastest data rates at 9.6kbps where Iridium and Inmarsat IsatPhone are at 2.4kbps. These satellite internet speeds are so slow that they usually require special software or applications to work efficiently and are usually limited to email only.
  • Are there any long distance or roaming charges?
    • Iridium and Inmarsat have the same voice calling rate from anywhere on Earth, with no long distance or roaming. Globalstar is more regional, but usually the most cost effective. If you're travelling outside the United States, Canada, or the Caribbean, you will want to check Globalstar's roaming rates.
  • Can I purchase insurance or extended warranty for the satellite phones?
    • Yes, we do provide extended warranty and maintenance plans for all of our satellite phones.
  • Do I need to get a new SIM card?
    • It depends on the phone service you are using. Globalstar does not use SIM cards, and the phone numbers are pre-assigned to the handsets. Inmarsat IsatPhone SIM cards do not deactivate, even if the service has been cancelled or expired, so you should not need a new one unless you are a new BlueCosmo customer. Iridium SIM cards do deactivate if the service has been cancelled or is 90 day past its expiration date Send us your SIM card information and we can go over your options.
  • If I buy two phones, can they share a service plan?
    • Unfortunately not, each phone does need it's own service plan or prepaid SIM card.
  • Which accessories are worth getting?
    • It depends on how you'll be using your satellite phone. A spare battery can be useful if you are away from a power source for an extended period of time. Also, all handsets have a compatable docking stations that connect to an extertior mounted antenna for use indoors. Email us at and we can recommend the best options for you.

How and When Satellite Phones are Typically Used

Satellite phones have been around for decades, but until the launch of the Iridium network, subscribers typically needed fortune 100 or government sized budgets to pay for the privilege. Satellite phones operate independently of terrestrial communication network and are typically a valuable backup to cell phones. Traditional wireless service can be unreliable or non-existent in remote, unpopulated regions and can be vulnerable to natural or man-made disasters.

Iridium GO!Unlike cell phones, satellite phones generally require line-of-site with the sky to receive a signal for service. Consequently, do not expect your satellite phone to ring in the hotel lobby of your hotel in the Congo or inside a stateroom while at sea. However you might be able to receive a signal if you are by a large window. Hardened structures, buildings, mountains, heavy tree cover, etc can all negatively affect your signal. Pilots can often leave a satellite phone or more likely an Iridium GO! on the dashboard of their planes cockpit to receive a signal.

While voice calls to a satellite phone incur a significant international calling surcharge, texting is often treated as any traditional SMS to a cell phone. The cell phone subscriber with an international SMS feature can text to a satellite phone at no more of an additional charge to say, texting a cell phone in Mexico. Inmarsat and Iridium satellite phones can send & receive text messages(SMS) or short emails. Globalstar can receive a 35 character messages only, but cannot reply.

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 The Inmarsat IsatPhone offers global satellite connectivity at an affordable price. In addition to voice and text, the IsatPhone also includes a built-in GPS receiver. While signal acquisition is somewhat slow due to the placement of the Inmarsat I-4 satellites and GPS acquisition, the call quality is reasonable. For the ultimate in satellite communications the Iridium 9575 Extreme is the most rugged, and full-featured satellite phone on the market today. Utilizing the Iridium network for unparalleled quality and coverage, this IP65 rated handset can be dropped into a puddle and still be able to call a taxi from the North Pole. In fact you can even send the taxi driver your GPS coordinates, including elevation, via SMS or email.

Satellite Phones & Internet Access

While many satellite phones do offer data, very few offer Internet access and even those few have severe bandwidth restrictions. However many common, popular online functions may be carried out  with an added accessory to a standard phone. Others connect directly to a smartphone via in-built Wi-Fi. It is important to note that browsing webpages is simply out of the question even for the most patient and meditative subscribers. A Wi-Fi enabled satellite device will offer limited Internet capabilities such as email, compressed photos, or tweets.
The Iridium GO! satellite hotspot is the first portable Wi-Fi hotspot that enables satellite phone to let subscribers call, text, email, all from their iOS or Android devices. Best of all it is the least expensive hardware solution to give customers access to Iridium, the most reliable satellite network.

Inmarsat IsatHubFor true Internet access with web browsing, a portable BGAN or IsatHub terminal are among the various mobile satellite internet solutions we recommend. Portable BGAN and IsatHub terminals like the Wideye ISavi utilize a passive antennae that must be stationary to receive a signal and transmit data. Even on a cruise ship which might not be moving all that fast you may have trouble maintaining a signal. The mobile satellite phones listed on this page can maintain a signal even while traveling in a car, train or plane.

Major Satellite Phone BrandsConnectivity in even the most extreme environments

  • Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone
    Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone - Open Box
    USD $1,195.00

  • Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone
    Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone
    USD $1,295.00

  • Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone
    Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone
    USD $1,099.00

  • Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone - Copper
    Globalstar GSP1700 Satellite Phone

  • Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone
    Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone
    USD $749.00

  • Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone
    Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone - Open Box
    USD $659.00

  • Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro Satellite Phone - Front
    Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro Satellite Phone

  • Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone
    Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone - Open Box
    USD $999.99


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