Iridium vs. Inmarsat Airtime

When it comes to using a satellite phone, the first thing you need to do is make sure it has enough airtime applied for its intended use. We offer a range of plans that are either paid monthly, like your everyday mobile phone contract, or prepaid data amounts that you buy and apply as a one-off cost. Our airtime plans are designed to get you through your project, adventure, or excursion, keeping you connected to the relevant satellite network.

Iridium Airtime

The Iridium satellite network is the only one in the world that has a truly global reach, meaning you can communicate with someone from anywhere, including the polar regions. Iridium therefore is recommended if you are travelling to or operating in a very isolated region and you need peace of mind that you will achieve coverage, however, Iridium’s monthly plans (which in January 2023 received a refresh in terms of structure and naming convention) are a bit pricier than others.

Looking at the Iridium Standard Pay Monthly Plans, you can sign up to one of the four following airtime packages:

  • Seasonal 10
    • $10 Activation Fee
    • 3 Month Minimum Term
    • $74 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins/SMS: 10
  • Starter 25
    • $10 Activation Fee
    • 1 Month Minimum Term
    • $82 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins/SMS: 25
  • Advanced 100
    • $10 Activation Fee
    • 6 Month Minimum Term
    • $103 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins/SMS: 100
  • Power 250
    • $10 Activation Fee
    • 3 Month Minimum Term
    • $129 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins/SMS: 250

See all Iridium Monthly Airtime Plans

Iridium’s prepaid airtime bundles may be more appealing if you know how long you will be away for. You can fill your Iridium 9555 or Iridium Extreme® satellite phone up with anything from a 30-Day voucher that comes with 100 minutes for £175 (ex. VAT), or if you know you will be away for longer, you can purchase vouchers that come with 1 year validity periods and up to 600 minutes, allowing for a much wider usage rate.

See all Iridium Prepaid Airtime Plans

Inmarsat Airtime

Unlike the Iridium network, Inmarsat’s coverage isn’t quite as far reaching in that it doesn’t cover the polar regions. So if your next excursion is to the Arctic or Antarctic, we would not recommend an Iridium handset or airtime. Virtually anywhere else on the planet caters for Inmarsat airtime coverage though, and at cheaper rates than Iridium. Choose from monthly contracts or prepaid airtime packages to add to your Inmarsat satellite phone.

Here is how the Inmarsat Standard Pay Monthly Plans stack up:

  • Standard
    • $25 Activation Fee
    • 3 Month Minimum Term
    • $45 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins: 10
  • Allowance 20
    • $25 Activation Fee
    • 3 Month Minimum Term
    • $65 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins: 20
  • Allowance 60
    • $25 Activation Fee
    • 3 Month Minimum Term
    • $100 Per Month
    • Inclusive Mins: 60

See all Inmarsat Monthly Airtime Plans

Inmarsat’s standard prepaid airtime plans are similar in structure to Iridium’s and range from 30-Day vouchers with 33 minutes on them, costing £45 (ex. VAT), to bundles that are valid for a year and come with 3,333 minutes on them, costing £3,170 (ex. VAT).

See all Inmarsat Prepaid Artime Plans


For the more cost conscious, Inmarsat’s prices are cheaper across the board compared to Iridium, with the only drawback being the network coverage not reaching polar regions. If you are conducting vital research in the north or south pole, for example, and you require the means of satellite communication, you will be looking at an Iridium satellite solution simply because no other option will guarantee you the reliable coverage that Iridium does.

As always, our team of experts is here to help. So, if you need any advice about the our airtime packages, contact us via:

*Prices correct at time of writing: Jan 2023.

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