SatCom FAQs

Satellite equipment facts or FAQ's for all major satellite phones, Hotspots, BGANs, Fleet terminals, iSatHub deives and more all on one page. The page is sectioned into satellite networks and models, such as Iridium, Inmarsat, and Thuraya satellite networks, and models like the 9505A satphone, or iridium GO.ect..


Iridium Equipment Frequently Asked Questions


Iridium Go Satellite Smartphone WiFi Hotspot

Q. Is the Iridium Go a satellite phone?

A. Yes, However the Iridium Go creates a WiFi Hotspot when it connects to the Iridium network that allows you to make satellite voice calls with any smartphone (like an IPhone or Android phone) through the use of an optimized iridium application, which is downloaded from the Apple Store, Android Store, or internet.

Q. Can I receive and send email with the Iridium Go?

A.  Yes, with the Iridium optimized applications, available for Apple and Android devices you can draft and view emails offline, configure email size to minimize connection time, queue up emails to be sent up to 15x faster than web-based services, and retrieve emails from external accounts.

Q. How many people can use the Iridium Go simultaneously?

A.  Five people can be connected at the same time with the Iridium Go device.

Q. Can I make calls simultaneously with the Iridium Go?

A. No, You can only place one call at the time. 

Q. Can the Iridium Go device can be used indoors?

A. The only way the Iridium Go will work indoors is if is connected to an auxiliary external antenna. The external antenna has to be outside with a clear view to the sky.

 Q. What are the dimensions and weight of the Iridium Go?

 A. Dimensions: 4.5"x 3.25" x 1.25" 

      Weight: 10.4 ounces (0.65 lbs, or 295 grams) - It’s small enough to fit in your pocket.

Q. How does the Iridium Go device works?

A. Simply flip up the integrated antenna and the battery-powered unit connects quickly and automatically to the Iridium network to create an anywhere Wi-Fi hotspot within approximately a 30.5 meter (100 foot) radius. Once connected the user opens the iridium application, and from there can choose to make a call, send an email, text, and update their favorite social media.

Q. What Global communications does the Iridium Go supports?

 A. Voice calls, Email access, Applications, Social networking, Photo sharing, SMS two-way, GPS tracking and SOS alert.

Q. Which areas does the Iridium Go WiFi Hotspot works?

A. The Iridium Go works anywhere in the world, including the North and South poles and the oceans. Restricted Areas by the U.S. Department of State are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, & Syria. 

Q. Can I order an Iridium Go WiFi Hotspot device?

A. Yes, you can Pre-Order your Iridium Go on our website or by contacting us at 1-877-299-9931. The delivering shipments will be around the end of July 2014.

Q. Can I trade in my old satellite phone an upgrade to the Iridium Go?

A. Yes, you can send us your old iridium satellite phone and will give you credit towards your new purchase. To learn more about the NorthernAxcess Buyback program click here. 

Q. What will be airtime cost for the Iridium Go   

A. Plan rates will range from $40 to $140, with a possible unlimited data plan at $140. 

Q. Is the Iridium GO water resistant?

A. The Iridium Go has an extremely rugged exterior, is jet water resistant, shock resistant, and dust proof. 

Q. How does the Iridium Go Satellite GPS Tracking works?

A.The Iridium Go has integrated GPS for tracking over the entire planet. Tracking can easily be enabled for the unit allowing you to see, in real time or near real-time, your position on a dedicated individual web-page where family or friends can track your location.


Iridium Satellite Phones


Q. How do I register an Iridium satellite phone to place a call?

A. You must be outside with a clear view to the sky.

If you are using an Iridium 9500, 9505, 9505A satellite phone you have to make sure the antenna is firmly seated in its socket, so you have to hold the button above the antenna and push the antenna all the way to the socket, when the antenna is firmly placed in the socket, release the button; Then rotate antenna 45 degree angle, after you hear click that means that the antenna is in the correct position, at that point you can extend the antenna. Power the phone and wait for the phone to register to the network.

If you are using a 9555 or 9575, the antenna is attached to the phone, so you just need to extend the antenna, turn ON the phone and wait for the phone to register.

Q. I am unable to turn ON my satellite phone?

A.Make sure you press and hold the "power" key for three seconds to turn the power on. Also

make sure the battery is charged and properly attached.

Q. What if an Iridium satellite phone do not register to the network?

A. If you see "Rotate Antenna" extend antenna upward and make sure you have a clear view of the sky.

If you see "Call Failed", "System Busy", "Restricted Area", or "Weak Signal", this means the phone is unable to access the network. Try again in a few minutes.

Q. How do I place a call from an Iridium satellite phone after is registered to the network?

A. You must be outside with a clear view to the sky. Satellite phones do not work indoors unless you attach an external antenna to it.

To place a call enter 00 followed by country code, area code and phone number. The country code for the US is 1. So, to place a call for example to 480-725-5105, you would enter: 001-480-725-5105, then press the "Send" Green button.

Q. I just bought a New Iridium satellite phone, what is the pin number?

A. Enter in 1111

Q. What are the coverage areas of the Iridium Network?

A.The Iridium network covers anywhere in the world, including the North and South poles and the oceans. Restricted Areas by the U.S. Department of State are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, & Syria.

Q. How many satellites does Iridium Network use?

A. Iridium uses a constellation of 66 satellites that orbit from the South Pole to the North Pole.

Q. Can I activate cellular service on my Iridium phone?

A. No,cellular service cannot be activated on an Iridium phone.

Q. What is the Iridium 2 stage dialing system?

A. This is an Iridium method to place a call to an iridium phone using a local number in Arizona. With this method the calling party only pays for the call to area code 480, which is a US number. The incoming minutes will be charged to the Iridium phone at the same rate for placing a call, or in the case of prepaid minutes, the minutes are subtracted from your remaining prepaid minutes. Two Stage Dialing is the less expensive method to call an Iridium phone.

Q. How do I use the 2 Stage Dialing method to call an Iridium Phone?

A. The calling party place a call to +1-480-768-2500, follow the prompt message, then enter the Iridium phone number beginning with 8816. The call is then transferred to the Iridium phone.  If the Iridium subscriber do not answer, the call will then be forwarded to the Iridium subscriber's voice mail to leave a numeric or voice message.

Q. How do I place a call to an Iridium phone using direct dialing method?

A. Start with the international dialing prefix for the country where the caller is located followed by the subscriber’s Iridium phone number. The international prefix for the US is 011. So to place a call to the Iridium phone from the US, the caller dials 011 followed by the Iridium phone number beginning with country code 8816.

When placing a direct call the calling party pays for the international call, and the incoming call on the Iridium is free, and does not use any minutes. However, long distance carriers charge a very high per minute rate for calling country code 8816, up to $14.95 per minute.

Q. How can I place a test call to verify that my Iridium phone is working properly?

A. To make a free test call from the satellite phone dial +1-480-752-5105.

Q. How can I check the minutes remaining and expiration date of my Iridium Prepaid Sim Card?

A. Just dial 2888 from your Iridium satellite Phone.

Q. How can I display my SIM card phone number?

A. 1. Press Menu until you see "Phone Book", and then press "OK" to select.

    2. Press Menu until you see "My Phone Number(s)", and then press "OK" to select.

    3. Your SIM card phone number will be displayed.

 Note: This is for 9555 and Extreme 9575 Models. The older models do not display the sim card phone number.

Q. What is the function of an Iridium SIM card?

A. SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards are currently used in all GSM-based systems. The SIM card is a removable module that contains user identity, account information, and stores phone numbers which can be used in any compatible phone where your SIM card is present. When inserted into a telephone, it allows you to place or receive calls. Any Iridium SIM card will work in any Iridium Satellite Phone.

Q. What type of phone number will I receive for my Iridium phone?

A.The phone number is a 12-digit Iridium phone number assigned by NorthernAxcess with its own country code of 8816. Example 8816-325-69658.

Q. Can I choose my Iridium satellite phone number?

A. No. Your satellite phone number will be assigned to your sim card. Although you can purchase a local U.S number that routes calls to your Iridium satellite phone and gives you the ability to choose a local number of your choice.

Q. I have two Iridium satellite phones that use prepaid airtime, can I share the airtime service plan?

A.That is not possible. Each phone is required to have its own SIM card and individual service plan to operate. Each SIM card has a unique phone number. However monthly plans can be combined between the two phone and bill together. 

Q. How do I send a text message to an Iridium phone?

A.To send a text message, go to the (SEND SAT SMS) link located in the footer of our website, then click on the Iridium Icon. You can also send a message via email, by entering the Iridium phone number into the following generic email address, 8816[number] You may send a maximum of 160 characters, including the header information. Incoming text messages are free, and can be retrieved when you connect to the satellite network.

Q. How do I know when I receive text message on my Iridium phone?

A. The Envelope Icon (next to battery meter) will appear on the screen, indicating that you have a new text message. It may take a while to get your incoming text messages. You may have to leave your phone on for around 15 minutes to receive your text messages.

Q. How do I send a message from my Iridium phone to a cell phone?

A. Go to the Main Menu - Messages select Create Message then type Message and then choose “Options” Send. Choose “Enter Number” OR pick one of your “Recipients”.

If you choose “Enter number”: type in phone # then OK highlight the phone # you entered then SEND

If you choose “Recipients”: highlight your recipient then SEND

WAIT until “SMS Message Sent OK” appears on screen.

Q. How do I Lock and Unlock an Iridium satellite phone keypad?

A. To LOCK your keypad press “Menu” and then the “*” key. To UNLOCK your keypad choose “UNLOCK” and then the “*” key.

Q. How do I access my personal voice mailbox of an Iridium satellite phone?

A. When the Iridium general VM number, 881662990000, appears on your phone or pager, that means

You’ve received a new voice message.

Dialing the Iridium general voicemail number using the Envelope key on your Iridium handset.

  1. Press the [Envelope] key, “Call Voicemail, select” will appear.
  2. Press [OK], this will automatically call the Iridium general voicemail number, 8816-629-90000.
  3. Wait for the Iridium voice prompt asking you to “re-enter the Iridium phone number you are trying reach”.
  4. Enter your Iridium phone number; you will then be forwarded to your personal voicemail greeting. Press the [*] key to interrupt the greeting, and then enter your password to access your personal mailbox. By default, your password is the last 7 digits of your Iridium phone number.
  5. Follow the voice prompts for menu options.

Q. What do the service light indicators mean?

A. Alternating Red and Green: An incoming call.

   Flashing Green: You are receiving a signal from the satellite, and can place and receive calls.

   Flashing Yellow and Red: You did not successfully register with the satellite and cannot receive any incoming calls.

   Flashing Red: Service is not available.

Q. Can I call 911 emergency service from my Iridium satellite phone?

A .Emergency service 911 is available in North America only. You only need dial 911 to be connected to the Central Emergency Services. No special prefixes or country codes are required to call this service.

Q. What is the approximate talk time for the batteries on the Iridium satellite phones?

A. 30 to 36 hours on standby 3.5 to 4 hours talk time.

Q. How does the temperature affect the battery life of my Iridium phone?

A. Lithium Ion batteries will not go completely dead when they get cold. But they must be warmed up before using.  For maximum battery performance fully discharge your batteries once when new, then immediately fully recharge.

Q. What are the dimensions and weight of the Iridium satellite phones?

  • Iridium 9575 Extreme: 5.5" (L) x 2.4" (W) x 1.06" (D). Weight 0 .54lbs.
  • Iridium 9555: 5.6" H x 2.16" W x 1.2" D.  Weight 0.59lbs
  • Iridium 9505A: 6.25" H x 2.5" W x 2.25" D (with antenna).  Weight 0 .83lbs.
  • Iridium  9500: 7.5" H x 2.5" W x 2.75" D. Weight 1.0lbs.

Q. Can I use the Iridium satellite phone indoors or in vehicle?

A. You can use a satellite phone indoors or a vehicle only if the satellite phone is connected to an external antenna that is placed outside with a clear view to the sky. If you are in a vehicle you can use an auxiliary antenna and place it to the roof of the vehicle.

Q. Can I buy an extended warranty for my satellite phones?

A. We offer our Premier Service- Product Protection Shield that offers extended warranty for new and used satellite phones. To learn more about this service click here.

Q. How do I upgrade my satellite phone’s software when is not working properly?

A. When you bought a satellite phone a few years ago it might need to be reflashed to upgrade it to the newest firmware to improve the voice quality and functionality. This process must be done by a specialized technician, because if is not done properly it may cause failure in the equipment. We do Firmware Upgrade for Iridium satellite phones. Send your phone to us and we will take care of it and you can have peace of mind that your phone is in good hands. Click here to learn more about this service.

Q.What service features are available on the Iridium satellite phones?

A. Voice mail, short messaging service, call forwarding, call barring and Two-Stage dialing.

Q. Can I call a toll-free number (800) from my Iridium satellite phone?

A. No, you cannot access 1-800 numbers from your Iridium Satellite phone.

Q. Does the refurbished Iridium satellite phone kits include a warranty?

A. Yes, all refurbished satellite phones come with a 90-day warranty.

Q. What is the difference between the Iridium 9555 and the Iridium 9505A?

A. The Iridium 9555 satellite phone is smaller and lighter than the Iridium 9505A and also has a more user friendly sleek design and intuitive menu-driven interface. New features make it even easier to use, including an integrated speakerphone, brighter display screen, improved SMS and email capabilities, easier navigation and flexible menu choices through the use of soft keys, an internally stowed antenna and an integrated Mini-USB data port.

Q. What is the difference between the Iridium 9555 and the Iridium extreme 9575?

A. The Iridium 9575 satellite phone is 10% thinner and 7% lighter than the Iridium 9555. Also the Iridium 9575 is rugged with both an IP65 and US MIL 810F rating and a rubber grip making it dust proof and water resistant. The 9575 comes with a tracking function complete with a panic button for emergency situations. Other features includes sharing location via SMS and online tracking via short burst data.

Q. Are the Iridium 9505A accessories compatible with the Iridium 9555 and 9575?

A.The accessories that are compatible between the Iridium 9505A, Iridium 9555 and Iridium 9575 are

AC travel charger, International plug kit, and Hands-free headset ,DC car charger and auxiliary antenna. Other accessories are not compatible between these models.

Q. Does the Iridium 9555 needs a data kit for data access?

A. No, the Iridium 9555 comes with everything you need to establish a data connection, including a Mini-USB cable that connects directly from your Iridium 9555 to your laptop or PC, as well as a CD-ROM with the required software.

Q. What can I do if my iridium satellite phone display says “Blocked"?

A. Please contact our support team at 1-877-299-9931 for assistance.

QCan I send emails with my Iridium satellite phone?

A. Yes with the optional data kit or USB Mini Cable with newer models, you can attach the satellite to your PC allowing you to check and send email at a native speed of 2.4k or a speed of 9.6k with data compression software.

Q. Are the Iridium phones water resistant?

A. Yes an Iridium satellite phone is water resistant but is not water proof. If you'll be exposed to extreme weather, the Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone is best option.