If you are going to need phone service but you are going to be out in the middle of nowhere where there is no cell service, you should consider getting a satellite phone. It is the only way that you can connect to the people that you need to connect with. Before you go out and spend money on a satellite phone, there are a few things that you should know first.
1. You Can Either Rent of Buy a Satellite Phone
You should base your decision of whether to rent of buy on how often you think you are going to need the phone. If you are just going to need a satellite phone a few weeks a year, renting is more cost efficient. You can rent a satellite phone for around $39.99 per week. The cost per call can be as low as $0.95 per minute. If you are planning to rent, most companies will also rent you the necessary accessories, such as solar chargers, car antennas, and universal charging adapters.
If you need a satellite phone for several weeks out of the year, you would be better off buying one. You can buy a satellite phone for between $750 and $1,295. If you buy the phone, the minutes will cost about $0.10 less per minute.
2. Not All Satellite Phone Work Everywhere
Before you choose a satellite phone service, you should find out the areas that the service will cover. There are some services that only cover certain areas. For example, Iridium service will cover the entire world, except for North Korea. If you are going to be in the United States or the Caribbean, you should go with Globalstar. The service that you choose depends on where you are going to be.
3. You Need to See the Sky to Get a Connection
“It is important to understand that in order to get a connection on a satellite phone, you need to be able to see the sky,” said Thuraya Telecommunications Company. If you are underground, inside a building, surrounded by tall trees, or in a canyon, you won’t be able to make or receive a call. If you are in a car and need a signal, there is a special antenna that you can buy so that you can get service. You can also put one of these antennas on a building if you are going to need service indoors.
4. Terrorists Are Known to Steal Satellite Phones
If you are going to an active war zone or to an area where terrorist activity is high, you should buy a satellite phone with prepaid service. Terrorists have been known to steal satellite phones so that they can communicate with one another at no cost to them. If you don’t have prepaid minutes, they can run your minutes up and you would be responsible for the bill. If you have prepaid minutes, as soon as they use the minutes that you purchased, the phone will no longer be any use to them. If you are planning to visit a war zone, the best phone is the Motorola 9505A on the Iridium network.
5. You Can Get Email or Surf the Web on Your Satellite Phone
If you are using a Globalstar or Iridium satellite phone, you can get an internet connection that would be strong enough to check your email and to visit text-based websites. If you are going to surf the web, you should disable the images on your browser.
6. Take Along a Portable Power Supply
If you are going to be away from a power supply for a long time, it is a good idea to take a solar power charger with you. A solar charger can completely charge a dead battery in just 3 ½ hours as long as there is continuous sunlight. These chargers can work with a typical cigarette lighter adapter. They are so strong that they are even capable of recharging a laptop.
7. Satellite Phones and Send and Receive Text Messages
Most of the satellite phones on the market today can send and receive text messages. Many of the companies who offer this feature will not charge for the messages that you receive, and they will charge you around $0.50 for the messages that you send. Often times, this can be less expensive than making a voice call.
8. Check the Rates Before You Call a Satellite Phone From a Landline or a Cell Phone
If you are planning to call a satellite phone from a landline or a cell phone, you should first check what the cost will be. In some cases, it can be extremely expensive. If you are calling a Globalstar phone, they have United States phone numbers. Chances are you would only need to pay the domestic long distance fee. To be on the safe side, you should contact your wireless provider or your long distance provider before you make the call.
Satellite phones make it possible to keep in touch with the world when you feel so far away from it. Before you purchase a satellite phone, you should learn as much as you can about them so that you can be sure that you are making the wisest decision.