Getting Started with Satellite Communications

Getting Started with
Satellite Communications

Ready to deepen your knowledge of how satellite phones
and communication devices work?

How to Stay Connected via Satellite Devices

If you’re not sure which satellite device is best for your needs, you’re in the right place. Between phones, personal communicators and WiFi hotspots, there are a lot of satellite options on the market for every use imaginable. This page is the ultimate guide to learning the differences between voice, messaging and data solutions, device options, airtime plans and the capabilities of different satellite networks. Still have questions? The BlueCosmo team is backed by over 20 years of experience and is available to answer your questions via live chat, email or phone.

Top Satellite Networks

Iridium Satellite Phones

Iridium is the only satellite network that offers seamless, reliable, global coverage over 100% of the planet.

About Iridium
Inmarsat Satellite Phones

Inmarsat offers near-global communications coverage with the exception of the polar regions.

About Inmarsat
Globalstar Satellite Phones

Globalstar satellites allow users to enjoy great call quality and no perceptible voice delay.

About Globalstar

Best-Selling Satellite Devices

Iridium Devices

Iridium Extreme

The Iridium Extreme® satellite phone offers global voice, text messaging, SOS alerting and location tracking, making it a terrific personal communications device.

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ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

ZOLEO is an affordable messaging device that’s perfect for anyone who wants to stay connected and secure when traveling beyond mobile coverage zones.

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Shop Iridium GO! exec

Iridium GO! exec®

Whether you're on a boat in the middle of the ocean or exploring the backcountry, the portable Iridium GO! exec satellite WiFi device keeps you connected to the world.

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Shop IsatPhone2 Device


This satellite phone offers voice and text messaging, SOS alerting and location tracking, at an affordable price point with near-global coverage.

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Satellite Communication FAQs

How do satellite communications work?

Satellite phones and communicators connect with satellites in orbit to transmit calls, messages and even data. Satellite communications are ideal for those who travel beyond cellular coverage but require a connection to stay in contact with contacts or emergency services.

What are the different types of satellite communications?

There are three main types of satellite communications: voice, messaging and data. Voice calling is achieved through satellite phones over Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) or Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) networks, while satellite messaging requires far less bandwidth and can be achieved using devices such as ZOLEO over the Iridium®Short Burst Data (SBD®) network.

What’s the difference between satellite communicators and phones?

Many satellite communicators offer SMS messaging, location tracking and sharing, SOS services, weather forecasts and check-ins. Satellite phones offer voice calling, in addition to all these features. The best way to determine which type of satellite device suits your needs is by considering whether voice calls will be required when travelling off the grid.

How can I set up satellite internet?

Portable satellite and WiFi calling solutions such as the Iridium GO! exec® can easily be set up for internet connection through the device’s connection manager, while satellite phones use third-party software such as XGate, Predict Wind and others to create a 2.4 kbps dial-up connection. BGAN solutions require an antenna set in the proper direction to initiate a data session from the terminal. VSAT and Starlink are always on the internet.

How reliable are satellite communications in the event of a natural disaster?

Because satellite phones and communicators connect with satellites orbiting in space, they are not dependent on land-based infrastructure like cell towers. This makes satellite phones and communicators less vulnerable to events on Earth like natural disasters that can knock out cellular or landline systems. When both the caller and call recipients have a satellite-capable device, ground infrastructure can be completely bypassed.

Which satellite network has the best coverage?

At BlueCosmo, we only w ork with the leading satellite networks: Inmarsat and Iridium. Each network offers different coverage which may be better in certain areas or for certain types of voice, text or data services. The only satellite network that offers complete whole earth coverage (including the North and South Poles) is Iridium. Learn more by clicking here.

Do satellite devices work everywhere?

If your satellite phone or device has a clear view of the sky within the network’s coverage area, it will transmit calls and messages via the constellation. To learn more about the coverage of our satellite networks, click here.

Which countries have banned satellite communication devices?

Although satellite coverage is global, networks such as Iridium comply with U.S. embargo restrictions. As such it is prohibited from providing products/services in the following countries: Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Always check with the local Consulate or Customs offices for info.

Should I rent or own a satellite phone?

If you are likely to need a satellite phone for more than six weeks a year, purchasing a phone is likely your best option. If you spend less than one month a year in regions lacking reliable landline or cellular coverage, we suggest a satellite phone rental for the times you need it. Learn more about our daily and monthly rental options.