How to Choose Satellite Airtime

Satellite Airtime Options

Compare monthly airtime and prepaid SIM cards.

When deciding what airtime option to choose, it is important to know that most satellite networks offer ongoing monthly service, or the option to purchase a fixed amount of prepaid airtime to use in a defined period.

Monthly Airtime Plans

Total peace-of-mind. Uninterrupted ongoing service, no expiry dates to worry about, and the freedom to change or cancel plans any time*. Our convenient online tools help you track usage.

Iridium Plan

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Inmarsat Plans

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Prepaid Airtime

Budget-control. Pre-paying for airtime is a good option for fixed budgets, or users with predictable periodic needs. It requires a bit more management, but our online tools make it easy to activate cards, and monitor airtime balances and expiry dates.

Iridium Prepaid

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Inmarsat Prepaid

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Compare Prepaid & Monthly Airtime

Compare Airtime Options Prepaid SIM Cards Monthly Plans
Best suited for... Short-term or seasonal usage Fixed budgets Uninterrupted monthly service
Benefits offered by BlueCosmo
  • No monthly fee
  • Free online activation, 24/7
  • Online airtime refill, auto-refill or expiry extension options available for most cards, 24/7
  • Maximum convenience
  • Pay-as-you-go flexibility
  • Most plans include some airtime and low prices on additional usage
  • Activated when shipped
  • Check airtime usage online, 24/7
Limitations Airtime is purchased in advance and it expires One-time activation fee
Does my service expire? Yes, expiry ranges from 30 days to 2 years, depending on the card No, enjoy uninterrupted service until you cancel
Does my airtime expire? Yes, airtime expires within 30 days to 2 years depending on the card. You won’t be able to make/receive calls if your airtime has been depleted or has expired No, unused included monthly airtime does not carry forward to the next month, however, you will always be able to make/receive calls at the standard usage rate associated with your plan
Does my satellite phone number expire? Yes, when your prepaid SIM card expires, you risk losing your number No, you keep your satellite phone number until you cancel
Optional Dedicated US Phone Number Not available Available for Iridium and IsatPhone plans
When do I pay for my airtime? In advance when you purchase the card Monthly*
Do I have to refill my airtime? Yes No
Do I receive monthly detailed call records? No Yes


Why choose a monthly plan?

With a monthly plan, you’ll have ongoing service until you cancel. Most plans include some airtime included each month, affordable rates for additional usage, and a detailed online record of your usage and calls each month. Never run out of airtime with monthly service.

Why choose a prepaid airtime SIM card?

With a prepaid SIM card, you can purchase a fixed amount of airtime to be used within a defined expiry period. You need to monitor your balance and expiry to ensure you have airtime when you need it. Some prepaid cards offer the option to purchase an airtime refill if your balance is low, or extend the expiry date for a fee if you need more time. With prepaid service, you won’t receive a record of your calls.

Do satellite phones use SIM cards?

It depends on the network. Iridium and Inmarsat phones do require an active SIM card to be able to transmit and receive, and the phone number is assigned to the SIM card. Globalstar does not use SIM cards and pre-assigns the phone number to each phone.

Can two phones share an airtime service plan?

No, each phone will need its own monthly or prepaid airtime plan.

How do I activate monthly service on my Iridium or Inmarsat SIM card?

When you order ongoing monthly or annual service from BlueCosmo for an Iridium phone, Iridium GO! or an IsatPhone, your SIM card will be activated at the time that we ship it to you. Just insert the SIM in the phone and you’ll be able to register with the network and make and receive calls.

How to I activate my Iridium or Inmarsat prepaid SIM card?

When you order prepaid airtime from BlueCosmo for an Iridium phone, Iridium GO! or an IsatPhone, your SIM card is not activated when it is shipped. The reason is that prepaid airtime expires and we don’t want you to lose any value while the card is in transit to you. Once you receive your card, you can activate it whenever you want by logging in to your online account clicking on the Prepaid from the menu and selecting the SIM card that you’d like to activate. Once activated, just insert the SIM card into your device and you’ll be able to register with the network and make and receive calls.

How do I activate service on my Globalstar phone?

When you order airtime service for a Globalstar phone, you’ll receive an email from us with a short form that needs to be completed so that we can activate the service for you. Once you’ve sent that to us and the service is activated, we’ll send you another email to let you know when service has been activated on your phone. This usually happens within 1 business day.