We've put together some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help beginners gain an understanding of what satellite phones can do.
How does a satellite phone work?
Unlike a regular mobile phone which connects to a mobile phone tower to make or receive a call, satellite phones bounce signals from the handset up to the satellite, back down to a groundstation where the call will then enter the traditional telephone network. The fact that they do not rely on mobile phone towers allows a much greater area of coverage - some networks offer completely global coverage.
How much does it cost to call from a satellite phone?
The cost of calling from a satellite phone will depend on which network and tariff you choose but generally varies between £0.50 to £1.15 per minute when calling standard landlines or mobiles. To obtain a more accurate idea of call costs please call our friendly team on +44(0)1202 801290 with an idea of how many minutes you might use each month. We can then help you select the most cost-effective tariff.
How much does it cost to call a satellite phone?
Again, unfortunately there is no concrete answer as different phone line providers charge different rates to each satellite network. If you intend to call into the satellite phone frequently we highly recommend that you contact your network provider to obtain the latest cost per minute of calling. In the past we have seen prices as high as £10 per minute to call satellite phones.
To ensure you keep costs of calling your sat phone low, take a look at our SatCallSaver service - a handy way to limit call costs and provide you with a local number for your sat phone.
How much does it cost to receive a call on a satellite phone?Nothing! Receiving calls on the satellite phone is completely free of charge. It is only the person who calls into the sat phone who will be charged.
Can I use a satellite phone indoors?
Unlike traditional mobile phones all satellite phones require a clear line of sight to the sky in order to make and receive phone calls. It is also worth remembering that even when outside obstacles such as buildings and trees can affect signal.
If you need a phone to work indoors there are specific models available which feature external antennas - please contact us for further details.
Can I send and receive text messages with a satellite phone?
All satellite phones have the capability to send and receive SMS messages except Globalstar GSP-1700. This handset is only capable of receiving incoming messages.
Text messages sent to between satellite phones and mobile phones are not 100% reliable. This is primarily due to the limited agreements in place between satellite and mobile operators. We highly recommend that you send test text messages before using the handset. If you do not succeed in sending or receiving the message, Iridium, Inmarsat and Thuraya phones have the capability to send and receive messages via a text to email function which tends to be much more reliable.
Can I use the internet/apps on a satellite phone?
Unfortunately not. Satellite phones are designed for voice calls, SMS and low-speed data suitable for GRIB files etc. For internet access users should consider a satellite broadband terminal or WiFi hotspot.
Do you have further questions about satellite phones? Please do not hesitate to call us on +44 (0)1202 801290. Our friendly team are waiting to answer any of your questions.