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Information Center: Handheld Satellite Phone Systems

InTouch Smartcards - Copyright 2005

Satellite phones are recommended for use in remote situations where terrestrial (cellular) wireless service is undeveloped.  Satellite phones are most suitable for places such as mountains, deserts, national parks and in unpopulated areas.

Satellite phones always require line of sight vision to the sky.  This means they must be used outside or in a window without obstructions such as trees, buildings, drapes, or window coatings designed to limit sunlight.  They are therefore less effective in big cities (due to high buildings and crowded landscape) or if indoor usages is necessary.

There is a variety of handheld satellite phones and each offers certain features that are more suitable to a particular segment of users.  Choosing the right satellite phone can save you a lot of money and frustration.  Additionally, deciding whether to rent or buy is equally important.

In general, if you plan to use the phone for less than 3 weeks per year then renting is the way to go.  Our sister site InTouch USA, offers satellite phone rental services at attractive rates and offer a full line of satellite phone systems in inventory.  There are many reasons to rent other than the period of time to use so it is advisable to have our sales specialists help you decide which option saves you the most money and gives you the highest level of service.

If you plan to use the phone for more than a month, or if you were a frequent user (including those who want the phone handy at all times for emergencies) then buying a phone is more advisable.  

The 3 most common satellite phone systems are:

The Thuraya satellite system is the smallest and the newest satellite phone.  It has the ability to act as a satellite phone and, in certain areas, as a cellular phone as well.  Works best in the Middle-East and Europe and many areas of the African continent.

The Globalstar system is probably the system of choice for most travelers due to the optimal combination of coverage and cost.  Additionally the size of the phone is midway between the Thuraya Satellite phone and the Iridium.

The Iridium Satellite system offers the near global coverage but the network is less reliable in North America and the cost of receiving a call is compounded by the high cost of calling an Iridium number.  That makes it very expensive for people to call you since Iridium numbers are not only considered international numbers but the rate of calling that particular "international" code is more expensive than most others. 

We carry and support all satellite phones.  You can order online or by calling our toll free number 1-800-872-7626.  If you only need a satellite phone for a short period of time, you may wish to Rent a satellite Phone from our sister company InTouch USA.

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