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Iridium Network and Coverage

Iridium is the only satellite communications company that provides a truly global coverage. 

Though there are other reliable networks that work in many remote places in the world, if you want to go anywhere and be 100% sure you can connect via voice, text, or online, Iridium’s coverage area allows you to do it.

Whether it be connecting via remote land areas, air, across oceans, and even the polar regions, Iridium is the most far-reaching satellite communications service available.

Why choose Iridium Satellite Network?

iridium-coverage-globe

When looking at the Iridium coverage map, it’s clear to see their innovative satellite design placement has made it possible to stay connected around the globe. 

So, what can you expect when you choose a device that operates on the Iridium network?  

  1. 100% Pole-To-Pole Coverage: There is no catch. Iridium is the only satellite service that offers barrier-free global connectivity. You can see from Iridium’s coverage map that there is no place on Earth you can’t go if you utilize a product on Iridium’s network of 66 linked low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Seamless communication 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because each of Iridium’s satellites move around and make a full orbit of Earth every 100 minutes, you’ll very rarely find yourself incapable of making a call, sending an important message, or pulling up a webpage. Performance and dependability from this type of network is unmatched when compared to networks operating geostationary satellites.
  2. Top-notch reception quality: It’s usually not just enough to get through to the person on the other side. You want to hear them with clarity knowing that they are hearing everything you’re saying as well. Satellite phones operating on Iridium’s network give you premium voice quality.
  3. Industry leader in global satellite communications: Even the U.S. Department of Defense relies on Iridium for its fully functioning multi-service platform global communications. If you want the best, this is it.

Iridium Coverage and Coverage Maps

Iridium coverage

You keep hearing “pole-to-pole” coverage, but what exactly does that look like? 

You can see from the iridium network coverage maps below how Iridium’s 66 cross-linked satellites allow use of satellite phones and other Iridium products to operate via every inch of the world’s surface – whether that be on land, sailing over waterways, or through the air. 

Just as the Earth is always moving, so are Iridium’s satellites. In this way, coverage can be delivered to every location on Earth at any given time.

Get to Know Iridium

How is it that Iridium can be so powerful and provide this kind of unmatched connectivity? 

Through a global constellation of 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, high-quality voice and data connectivity is possible pole-to-pole. The LEO satellites allow for a shorter transmission path and lower latency with stronger signals. In short, it’s everything you ever hoped for in remote connectivity.

As of 2019, the Iridium network became even stronger with the roll out of Iridium Certus

What is Iridium Certus?

The newly architectured Iridium Certus will bring you whatever you require in functionality without compromising speed. Satellite communications have been upgraded to one multi-faceted platform with the highest throughput L-band data connection available. With Iridium Certus comes fast, reliable, unparalleled global connectivity. You can rely on a flexible platform offering high-speed l-band connectivity, data streaming, premium quality voice service, data broadcast, and unparalleled safety services.

What You Can Expect on the Iridium Network

ridium understands the need for a reliable network, anytime and anywhere. Today, voice and data communication is a lifeline – both as a connection we value in business and when family members are far away, or quite literally the critical connection we rely on in matters of life and death. 

Iridium offers connectivity when you need it by way of the following services:

short burst data

SBD

Businesses require machine-to-machine solutions more than ever before. And these days, that often means technology operating throughout the world, even in far corners of the earth. Whether you need to track packages, monitor pipelines, or collect data from afar, Iridium’s Short-Burst Data offers the necessary solution. This service allows for small data messages to be sent with greater frequency globally through a single network. SBD options are perfect for industries such as Oil and Gas, Maritime, Aeronautics, and Government operations.

Find all the SBD solutions you need here.

iridium-9602n-sbd-transceiver
IMG_PRD_Iridium-Pilot_360 Loop

Look no further for greater reliability and stronger throughput than the affordable Iridium Broadband solution. This OpenPort service provides the communication capability to quickly send and receive email, browse the web and make high-quality voice calls. Does your vessel require a reliable VSAT back-up solution? Iridium’s OpenPort products, such as the Iridium Pilot Marine Terminal, allow for this critical connectivity. Easily installed, it can perform all functions in any weather conditions and anywhere on the planet.

Find all the Open port solutions you need here.

Openport Broadband

Maritime

Look no further for greater reliability and stronger throughput than the affordable Iridium Broadband solution. This OpenPort service provides the communication capability to quickly send and receive email, browse the web and make high-quality voice calls. Does your vessel require a reliable VSAT back-up solution? Iridium’s OpenPort products, such as the Iridium Pilot Marine Terminal, allow for this critical connectivity. Easily installed, it can perform all functions in any weather conditions and anywhere on the planet.

Find all the Maritime solutions you need here.

IRDM_Extreme_08-trans

Maintaining phone call capability worldwide has become a necessity for people traveling to remote destinations by land, air, and sea. Iridium created a unique network that allows customers to never be without phone service ever again. The Iridium 9555 is one product that allows for global mobile communications via satellite. Trust that your product will work with reliable connectivity is paramount, and this phone (which includes a hands-free headset) delivers. It is ruggedly built to withstand the elements. Though powerful and robust, it is more lightweight than its predecessor while still being the dependable lifeline you depend on.

Find all the voice solutions you need here.

Voice

Pole-To-pole  Connection

Pole-To-Pole

Iridium is the only satellite service that offers barrier-free global connectivity. Feel free to roam the world while maintaining seamless communication 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Find all the Pole to Pole solutions you need here.

iridium-coverage-globe

The newly architectured Iridium Certus will bring you whatever you require in functionality without compromising speed. Satellite communications have been upgraded to one multi-faceted platform with the highest throughput L-band data connection available. With Iridium Certus comes fast, reliable, unparalleled global connectivity. You can expect: streaming data, high-quality voice service, data broadcast, safety services

Allowing individuals, mega-sized operations, (and everything in between) to communicate and run their global business from afar, Iridium offers this all at a superior value. Whether your needs involve short burst data, openport, voice, or a specific maritime solution, the following products will connect you through the most reliable mobile satellite communications network in the world – Iridium.

Find all the Iridium certus solutions you need here.

Iridium Certus

Iridium Coverage Comparison at a Glance

Use the following chart to find out how Iridium compares to other leading satellite networks available to you.

Network

Iridium

Inmarsat

Globalstar

Thuraya

% of Global Coverage

100%

90%

80%

90% (including roaming)

Polar Coverage

Yes

No

No

Limited

LEO or Geostationary Satellites

Low-Earth Orbiting (LEO

Geostationary

Low-Earth Orbiting (LEO)

Geostationary

Number of Satellites

66 (plus 9 spares)

13

48 (plus 4 spares)

2

Pros

100% reliable coverage around the globe with stellar reception quality

InmarsatGreat value; dropped calls are rare

Premium voice quality; solid signal throughout North America

Global network access from most locations

Cons

Higher Cost

No polar connectivity

Parts of the world remain out of reach

Expect higher charges when roaming on GSM services

Voice Service Plan Cost

Monthly plans starting at $59.9

Monthly plans starting at $49.99

Monthly plans starting at $49.99

Monthly plans starting at $39

LEO vs. Geostationary: What’s the difference?

You’ll see that both Iridium and Globalstar both operate LEO satellites, whereas Inmarsat and Thuraya utilize geostationary satellites. Though all satellites are constantly moving and in orbit around the earth, they do so differently:

Low-Earth Orbit Satellites: Like the name sounds, LEO satellites hover much lower to the ground than their geostationary counterparts. Iridium’s satellite operate 485 miles above Earth and Globalstar at 878 miles above earth. They are able to move at a faster rate due to their lower altitude and can also offer better signal strength. But networks operating at low earth need to have a much higher number of satellites in orbit to provide worldwide coverage. 

Geostationary Satellites: You’ll also hear these referred to as geosynchronous satellites. Essentially, they remain over the equator at all time creating a perfect ring around earth as they move. They operate about 22,000 miles above Earth. Inmarsat and Thuraya can cover of the earth because they are so high up, but because of the angle, they are unable to provide coverage of the polar regions. There is often higher latency compared to LEO satellites because of their height.

Further Coverage Information

Further comparisons can be found on our network coverage page. And if you’re looking to compare satellite phone coverage specifically, the following article from Gear Junkie puts phones from Iridium, Inmarsat, and Globalstar to the text.

For each of the following networks you can find out the extent of coverage, see data and satellite phone coverage maps, and the range of products that operate on each platform by going to each network’s individual page.

  1. Globalstar
  2. Inmarsat
  3. Thuraya
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