Renting or Buying a Satellite Phone, and What to know before you do?

Posted by NorthernAxcess Satellite Communications on 5th Mar 2014

What to know when deciding on renting or buying a satellite phone

So here we're going to go over some of the things you need to ask yourself when trying to decide if you should rent or buy a satellite phone. This way when your ready, you will have better armed yourself so that you won't believe everything your told by the first company you call.

This article is based mostly around deciding on satellite phones, however this can also help with deciding on a satellite internet terminal, such as a BGAN, or Fleet Broadband,..or even a satellite tracking device.

Choosing a satellite phone, and network

So then,...When Choosing a satellite phone you already know that your going to be somewhere in some remote area, or at very least somewhere that does not have cellular coverage or minimal. So the first thing you will need to do is to decide what satellite network will best suit your needs for where you are going to be using the sat phone, and how you will be using it. 

Where you will be using the satellite phone is very important to the network and model you will purchase or rent, because every network has its limitations, and advantages. Don't worry its not as hard as it seems, there are really only 3 satellite networks to choose from, and usually its easy to decide with where your using the satphone. So first to choose the satellite network you can read our article here on How to choose a satellite network. Once you have decided that, then you can start from here on renting or buying. Remember that choosing a particular model is not too important until the end, and that part is generally based on certain features of the satphone, such as size, toughness, GPS, and of course sometimes price. The price of the model satellite phones can sometimes be a bit high, so there are things you can do to keep the cost down such as purchasing a used, or refurbished model satphone. You can review different used and refurbished model satphone packages by clicking HERE, or review new satellite phones HERE when the time comes. If you need further assistance then you can always call one of our technicians.

Why do you need the satellite phone, and what will you use it for?

  • Voice- phone call, text messaging
  • Data- sending emails, documents, web surfing, video streaming
  • Tracking/Monitoring- (ex:sending short GPS location messages)
  • Emergency Use Only

Where will you be using the satellite phone the most?

  • Example:What country, and will it be used mostly on land, sea, air, or in a vehicle

How much, and for how long will you be using the satellite phone?

* this question also helps you decide whether to rent or to buy.....'examples are given below, although are not limited to just these'

Seasonal Use Every Year

  • Two or more months out of the year- owning is best
  • One month out of the year- renting might be best, although owning eventually becomes more cost effective

Emergency Use or Preparedness

  • Vacation/Trip- renting might be best
  • Back up emergency communication- owning is best
  • Boat Race- if done every year as a profession then owning is good
  • Traveling abroad- same examples from "Seasonal Use Every Year" mentioned above also apply here
  • Only line of communication for living in remote area- owning is best

Do you need it to be portable, or fixed mounted?

  • Portable - means you can carry it with you and set it up wherever you go very quickly and easily.
  • Fixed/Mounted- means the equipment will be attached to something like the side of wall inside a building or a boat cabin, or also set up in a car.

Do you plan on using a lot of minutes?

if yes, then you might consider first how many minutes you think you will use. usually renting a satellite phone has a rather high per minute usage rate. The renting rate is always higher than if you were paying for minutes on an owned sat phone. So if your planning on using a lot, then its possible the price your paying on the satellite airtime alone will allow you to purchase a satellite phone, and an airtime package. 

*These are all just examples only to help in deciding, and understanding satellite communication, however there are many other situations like mentioned above that could be considered in deciding upon satellite equipment or airtime services.

So for more in depth information at the different satellite communication networks and their coverage, advantages and limitations of each then you can take a look again at our article on 'Choosing the Best Satellite Network' by Clicking Here!

And of course for any information on satellite phones, BGAN data terminals, Satellite Phone Airtime, SatPhone Repair, Satellite Tracking and Monitoring, or Satellite Phone Rentals, and selling or upgrading your satellite phone to a newer model then call us for 24/7 sales and support at 877.299.9931, or visit our website at