Land-Based Satellite Broadband Buying Guide

At Global Telesat Communications we sell a range of satellite broadband terminals which operate on networks including Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya. Satellite broadband terminals are ideal for organisations and individuals needing to transfer large amounts of data or access the internet from remote locations. Satellite terminals allow you to access the internet, corporate networks, send and receive emails and large files at speeds of up to 492 kbps and stream live video. Terminals can also be used for voice communications.

If you're looking to purchase a satellite broadband terminal but don't know where to start, our buying guide is here to help. The following information is designed to help you pick the right satellite terminal for you requirements.

Compare all our satellite terminals with our satellite terminal comparison chart.

If you need assistance before making a purchase please call us on 0800 112 3919 to discuss your requirements.

What can I use a satellite terminal for?

Although satellite phones can be used to send text messages and small email files they are not suitable for transmitting or receiving large files due to their very low data rates. Satellite broadband terminals are small portable devices which, together with your laptop computer, enable you to connect to the internet with broadband speeds virtually anywhere on the planet. They allow you to keep in contact with friends and family through email, blogs or social networking sites and stream live video wherever you travel, no matter how remote that region may be. Some terminals also allow voice connectivity to enable you to make phones calls using a specially designed handset.

Which satellite terminal best suits my needs?

There are various satellite terminals to choose from and the one most suitable for you will vary depending on a number of factors including budget, size, required data or streaming speed and the number of users sharing the terminal.

The Inmarsat BGAN network offers near global coverage and is generally a more popular choice than Thuraya due to the wider range of terminals and airtime options. Terminals range from the entry level IsatHub, a very capable terminal capable of providing data download speed of up to 384 kbps, to the Cobham Explorer 710, the biggest and fastest satellite terminal available. This terminal offers data connection speeds of up to 492 kbps along with the ability for multiple users to send and receive data and make voice calls all at the same time. Our preferred terminals for the majority of users are the IsatHub or Cobham Explorer 510

The Thuraya network offers more flexibility with its airtime options and is a good choice if you do not want to be tied into a long contract as it offers a one month minimum term. Thuraya airtime is priced very competitively and also offer contracts with unlimited data use and so can end up being more cost effective in the long term. If you decide that the Thuraya network is the most suitable for your needs, there are two terminals available; the Thuraya IP terminal and the Thuraya IP+. They are ultra-light weight and compact satellite terminals and provide high-speed streaming capabilities. These convenient 'always-on' terminals enable fast, reliable data connectivity even from the most remote regions across more than 140 countries in Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Which network is best?

Inmarsat and Thuraya both have satellite networks which allow satellite terminals to connect to the internet at broadband speeds. The Inmarsat BGAN network offers almost global coverage and a wide range of terminals which vary in price and connection speeds. The Thuraya IP network covers almost two thirds of the globe but currently has just two compatible terminals. Although Thuraya IP airtime is generally priced very competitively in comparison to BGAN airtime the majority of our customers choose the BGAN network due to the range of terminals and flexible airtime options available.

What's best - Pay-As-You-Go or Pay Monthly Airtime?

Once you have chosen the most appropriate network and terminal for your requirements you will need to decide how to purchase airtime to use with your terminal. If Thuraya is your chosen network provider you will have to buy airtime through a pay monthly contract. If you choose the Inmarsat network you can choose between pay-as-you-go and pay monthly airtime.

Pay-as-you-go airtime allows you to buy a specified amount of data and once this has been used or expires you can either top-up or purchase a new card. This is very similar to the way that a pay-as-you-go SIM card works for a regular mobile phone.

Pay monthly airtime is a more convenient and cost effective option if you plan to use your satellite terminal regularly throughout the year and do not want to worry about expiry dates or the inconvenience of topping-up pay-as-you-go SIM cards.

There are a wide range of pay monthly, quarterly or annually contracts available for the BGAN network and in most cases we recommend you contact us for advice unless you know the specific plan you require.

Purchase vs rental?

If you only require a satellite terminal for a short period of time it may be worth your while to consider renting one as opposed to purchasing as it will most likely work out as a far more cost-effective solution for you. Why not have a look at our satellite terminal rental page to see which terminal could best suit your needs?

About Inmarsat BGAN

Inmarsat's Broadband Global Area Network - BGAN - provides both simultaneous voice and data, globally. It also offers a portfolio of guaranteed, on-demand IP streaming rates, and is the service of choice for many people working in areas that have little or no terrestrial connectivity.

About Thuraya IP

Thuraya IP is the world's first mobile satellite service to support 384 kbps Streaming IP, with connectivity of up to 444 kbps available on Standard IP.

About Thuraya

Thuraya is a United Arab Emirates based provider of mobile satellite voice and data services with coverage across most of Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia. Thuraya provides network service through three geosynchronous satellites and its products include satellite phones, fixed land phones and satellite broadband terminals.

Find out more

Browse our range of portable satellite broadband terminals or if you feel you need further information before you make your decision please don't hesitate to contact us