Posted by NorthernAxcess Satellite Communications on March 05, 2014
Choosing a satellite network is very simple in the fact that basically you are deciding on the network that has the least amount of limitations for your needs. Such limitations that all satellite networks have is the fact that you have to be outside with a clear view of the sky to use the satellite phone,.. however one limitation that is specific to Geosynchronous (Stationary/Fixed) satellite networks such as the Inmarsat system is the need to have a more direct line of sight to the satellite, which means the satellite phone antenna needs to be pointed in the satellites direction. All satellite systems require the need for 'Land Earth Stations', or 'Gateways' that basically send the signal up to the satellite. These Gateways are strategically placed around the globe for each network to ensure the best signal and in the most secure area. So satellite communication is not designed to replace a cellular network largely because of these types of limitations, but instead these satellite communication networks make up for the gap that cellular systems leave. Only 10% of the earth is covered by cellular, whereas certain satellite systems are global. However integrating cell phones with satellite technology so they can work with both is well on its way. This can be seen in our recently released iridium Go wifi hotspot.
So listed here below is the top four (more like the only four) satellite phone communication networks. Each section goes over the coverage of the satellite system, with advantages, and limitations of each.
There are many coverage maps depicting the iridium satellite network, but ultimately the iridium network is the only completely true global network available.
The system is made up of 66 LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) satellites, which hover around 500 miles above the earth covering the entire earths surface moving from pole to pole.
Inmarsat System & Coverage
The Inmarsat network is also a global system and consists of 3 Geosynchronous (Stationary, or Fixed in one position) satellites set on the equator thousands of miles above the earth. Because of the fact that the satellites are GEO, or fixed satellites, which means that they do not move from their set position, whereas LEO satellites are constantly moving. This makes it so that the equipment needs to be pointed directly at the satellite to register on the network.
The Inmarsat network is actually one of the oldest networks. Their name 'Inmarsat' stands for 'International Marine Satellite'. They started as a largely marine based satellite network and mostly still are to this day. However as of about 3 years ago they came out with their competition to iridium which was the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone.
The Thuraya systems coverage is largely over Africa and parts of the Middle-East and Asia. This system however is a moving ahead rapidly. Their line of satellite phone are more advanced than other competitors. So if you live in this any of these regions then this might be a wonderful choice for you.
Globalstar has been out of the large part of the industry for many years now and mostly selling airtime and satellite phone packages at highly reduced rates to hold on to customers. They started loosing their satellite many years ago, however they started launching of a new system about a couple years back and are starting to promote the system again and raising prices for competition. The system still has a lot to lack but when used the signal and voice quality on the Globalstar system cannot be beat for clarity and strength.
The one thing that has kept them in the game has been there line of 'SPOT' equipment and services, such as the SPOT Connect, SPOT Messenger, and the current SPOT Global Satellite Phone, which operates no the updated Globalstar system and is the same model as the Globalstar 1700 satellite phone. The only models phones available are:
So if after this you have any questions feel free to call us at NorthernAxcess with 24/7 sales and support at 877.299.9931, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to contact us
Also if you are looking for the best in satellite phones, or sat phone sales (click here) or BGAN satellite data terminals (click here), or satellite airtime packages and plans (click here), or satellite phone rentals (click here) you can find everything you need very easily on our website at www.NorthernAxcess.com
We also have an in-house service and repair centre that specializes in satellite phone repairs like: (to send in a repair you can download our RMA form here)
All prices are in USD.