About the Major Networks (it’s a light read, honest!)
Go Yonder is committed to ensuring our customers have the most suitable communication device or service to match their requirements. We offer hardware and services for all of the major networks which include Globalstar, Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya.
There are four main network providers of satellite communications, each have varying levels of coverage and capabilities. Depending on where and when you might need to use a satellite phone, this buying guide will help you to decide which network provider and handset are going to meet your requirements.
Thuraya coverage is provided by just 2 geostationary satellites which orbit over Singapore and Somalia. Thuraya geostationary satellites provide coverage to most of Europe, Australia, Asia, the Middle-East and northern and central Africa, although it does not reach to the southern tip of Africa, much of the Atlantic and Pacific ocean, the Poles nor the Americas.
Inmarsat currently operate 11 geostationary satellites and are able to offer global coverage with the exception of the Polar regions. These geostationary satellites are in a fixed position and orbit at very high altitudes, which means that Inmarsat and Thuraya users will receive a consistently strong signal if they are within line of sight of a satellite with dropped calls being unlikely.
Iridium use over 66 satellites which zoom across the earth in multiple orbits at a much lower level than the geostationary satellites. Iridium’s low orbiting satellites help to ensure high call quality, and the shorter distance from the earth helps to ensure delays in transmission are less likely. Whereas, Thuraya and Inmarsat’s high altitude geostationary satellites could cause users to experience delays on the line and call quality can vary.
As with all satellite phones, they require you to be within a line of sight to the satellite, obstructions (such as buildings, trees, high terrain, etc.) will prevent you from making and receiving calls. As Thuraya and Inmarsat’s satellites are in a fixed position, you will have to move into view of the satellite to receive a signal. Iridium’s satellites will be passing over the sky in all directions, moving towards you and over the horizon, therefore they are able to offer a totally global network and you will not have long to wait until a satellite moves into your view.
Whilst Iridium’s large arrangement of zooming satellites means that they are able to offer global coverage, it does however, result in occasional dropped calls and therefore Iridium would not be suitable where a consistent signal is required, for large data transfers for example.
Globalstar has 32 low earth orbiting satellites and provides coverage in over 120 countries. Although coverage is not global, Globalstar users experience less call dropping than Iridium customers. Coverage includes main European and Mediterranean land and waters, and almost complete Atlantic crossing coverage from the USA back to Europe and coverage of the Caribbean waters and mainland America.
Each network provider has a selection a handsets to choose from. The Iridium 9555 is not only the smallest portable phone Iridium has ever made but is it also the most powerful. It is a lightweight, rugged and water-resistant tool capable of withstanding the harshest of environments. With aerodynamic features such as an internally stored antenna, improved SMS and email capabilities and a significantly reduced footprint from their previous satellite phone, this sleek Iridium handset can be depended upon to work wherever you go.
Iridium 9575 Extreme
Iridium’s most advanced phone the 9575 Extreme, is the toughest military grade designed satellite phone available today. It’s compact rugged design can withstand just about anything that is thrown at it so that you can still make that all important call wherever you are. Iridium 9575 Extreme is the first satellite phone to offer the fully integrated services of customisable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notification. The emergency SOS button can be configured with a predetermined contact, which will receive your GPS location every 5 minutes in an emergency, provided you have the phone with you and it is charged. Also included is a cradle with a USB port that connects the phone to a laptop, turning the 9575 into a data modem. It’s data speeds are enough to send emails and texts with a 100 character monochrome display making for quick and easy use.
Inmarsat’s latest satellite phone, the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2, is proving to be tough competition for the Iridium Extreme 9575, the call quality has been significantly improved, with excellent clarity that you would not expect from a satellite phone. The IsatPhone 2 offers voice and data capabilities, 8 hours talk time, colour display, built in GPS, SOS function and bluetooth. It’s rugged water-resistant design makes it all-terrain friendly and it is one of the most affordable satellite phones on the market. Whilst Inmarsat’s signal is less likely to be disrupted or dropped, the data capabilities are slower than Iridium’s handsets, and it is recommended that the IsatPhone 2 is best for land based use where voice capabilities are the main requirement.
The portable Globalstar GSP-1700 is one of the most affordable satellite phones available to buy, it is also one of the smallest and most lightweight. It offers optimal voice clarity, 4 hours talk time, it has an integral antenna and fast data speeds at 9.6 Kbps. Globalstar boast the best call quality on the market and this is certainly true as it have proven to be very popular in the UK and Europe.
Thuraya offer SatSleeve adapters for your Iphone or Android phone alongside the stand alone satellite handsets. The SatSleeve allows you to adapt your mobile phone handset to make and receive calls and SMS on the Thuraya network. The SatSleeve has its own Thuraya SIM card slot.The Thuraya XT Lite satellite phone offers dual GSM and satellite voice calling. If you are in a Thuraya satellite coverage area you will be able to call, and receive a call from, anywhere in the world. The GSM mode allows you to still be able to use your phone, even if you are not in a coverage area, by routing the call through a Thuraya GSM roaming partner. The affordable XT Lite allows you to send and receive emails easily with its built-in GmPRS capabilities by connecting to your PC or laptop. It also offers 6 hours talk time, an omni-directional antenna for ‘walk and talk’ and a glare resistant display.Don’t forget to check the latest smartphone and Wi-Fi connectivity devices such as the Iridium GO!, the Inmarsat IsatHub, the Thuraya SatSleeve+ & Hotspot and the Globalstar Sat-Fi. All of these devices now allow you to connect you smartphone or tablet to the satellite networks via Wi-Fi, allowing you to access emails, social media and data transfers from your device.