How to use Iridium Messaging for Free Texting to a Satellite Phone


When it comes to using a satellite phone it can be somewhat intimidating. It works differently from a cell phone and pricing is different, too. With text messaging, for example, you may be unsure how much that will cost you as well as any cell phone user who is sending you text messages. As a satellite phone user, you will want and need this capability when traveling off-the-grid, but you don’t want to break the bank (and you don’t want the cell phone users contacting you to have to pay extra money either.)

Luckily, if you choose an Iridium satellite phone – whether that be for travel, business, or emergency preparedness, you’ll be able to text for free (no additional charges beyond your plan minutes) and others with Internet access will be able to send text messages to your satellite phone for free using the Iridium messaging service.

Avoiding Text Charges When Texting to and From an Iridium Satellite Phone

Cell phone users are used to texting being free no matter what or who you’re messaging. No one has to count how many texts they’ve sent and have the freedom of sending and receiving texts without additions to their monthly phone bill. But satellite phones don’t work that way, and if cell phone users aren’t careful with their text messaging, they could end up with an expensive phone bill for any texts sent to a satellite phone.

But thanks to the team at Iridium, there is a new way to stay in contact with those who are using an Iridium satellite phone without being hit with a $5-$10 charge per text (yes, that’s how much it can cost otherwise)! By following the simple steps below, you will be on your way to finding the workarounds that Iridium has to offer to ensure no additional fees are incurred by utilizing this online text messaging format.

How to Text an Iridium Phone Without Extra Charges

Iridium has created a site that allows people with Internet access to use Iridium messaging for to send text message for free to any Iridium satellite phones. And the satellite phone user won’t have to pay extra text messaging fees beyond the use minute charges they’ve paid for with their plan, whether that be for voice calling and text messaging. Neither the satellite phone owner nor the person sending the satellite phone owner a message will incur extra charges.

So, how do you send text messages for free?

The first step is to go to This will bring you to a form where you will need to input the satellite phone number you want to send a message to, your email address, and what you want your message to say. 

Iridium messaging will then send the message to the satellite phone. When the owner of the satellite phone replies, that message will be sent to the email address provided (not to your cell phone). 

Note that messages to an Iridium satellite phone can be stored up to seven days, and will automatically be delivered when the phone is powered on.

Can I send as long of as message as I want to the satellite phone?

You can put up to 160 characters per text message. If you want to write more, you will have to send more than one text in order to include everything need to in your message. One recommendation when doing this is to number each text so that the receiver of the text knows how many to expect. For example text #1 of 5 total messages would be written 1/5, text #2 you’d write 2/5, etc. 

If you have someone you need to get ahold of often who has an Iridium satellite phone, the simple Iridium messaging tool could end up saving cell phone users hundreds of dollars in overage fees with their phone provider.

How to Send A Text Message From an Iridium Satellite Phone

The following directions are for the owner of the satellite phone needing to send a text message out to another satellite phone or a cell phone.

  1. You must first be registered on the Iridium network before sending a text message.
  2. Ensure you’re outside in an open area with good reception.
  3. Press “Menu”
  4. Using the arrow key, scroll down to select to “Messages”
  5. “Create Message” should be highlighted. Press “Select”
  6. Use the keypad to compose your message text and then press “Options”
  7. Follow the on-screen options thereafter to “Send” the text message.

Following, you’ll select the recipient for your message. If they are not yet in your phonebook, you’ll be prompted to add the phone number, beginning with the phone number’s country code.

How to Send Free Texts to an Iridium Satellite Phone Using Iridium Messaging

The following directions are for a cell phone user needing to send a text message to an Iridium Satellite Phone.

  1. Have the person go to this website,
  2. It will take you directly to a page where you’ll be able to type a message to a recipient who owns or rents an Iridium satellite phone.
  3. Enter the 12-digit satellite phone number WITHOUT any dashes, starting with 8816. 
  4. Enter a reply to email if needed so the recipient will be able to send a message back to you.
  5. Type a message up to 160 characters. You will need to create multiple messages if you need to say something longer than the 160-character limit.
  6. Check the box “I’m not a robot.”
  7. Click “Send Message.” (This option is FREE for the person sending and FREE for the person receiving the text – meaning there are no extra text charges beyond the minutes the user is already paying for).

Though choosing to use a cell phone directly to message an Iridium satellite phone is possible, you may incur high charges per minute or not work.

For additional help connecting via text message, please watch the instructional video below or call 1-800-279-2366 or utilize the chat feature at for 24/7 live support.