2023 Satellite Phone Buyer’s Guide for The Best Satellite Phones

What is a satellite phone ?

A satellite phone is a mobile phone that provides voice and data services via orbiting satellites. A satellite phone network provides coverage in areas around earth even where cellular networks cannot.

Why do people need satellite phones?

If you are conducting business or going on a trip where cell service is not available, a satellite phone is what you need. A satellite phone also allows you to stay connected in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

Which satellite phone has the best coverage?

Satmodo only works with the best networks to offer you reliable service around the globe. Globalstar, Inmarsat and Thuraya all have broad coverage areas, with Iridium being the one network offering complete global coverage.

What is the best satellite phone?

The best all-around satellite phone for 2023 is the Iridium 9575 Extreme. This versatile and durable device is perfect for anyone requiring reliable voice and text capability no matter where they go in the world.

Best Satellite Phone

We’ve put together a camparison chart below to make it easy for you to shop for the satellite phone plans for your satellite phone device.

Iridium 9555

A Small and Mighty Global Sat Phone

If you’re looking for a satellite phone with a bit sleeker profile and you can forego a few features of the 9575, the Iridium 9555 is another great device operating on the world’s most reliable, worldwide network. For a lower price point, you’ll still have a phone that keeps you connected no matter what.

Compact Power

The Iridium 9555 satellite telephone packs serious power into a small frame. If ultimate portability is what you’re after, this is it. With a significantly reduced footprint from the previous model, users get a more hand-friendly form factor and space-saving features such as an internally stowed antenna. But don’t let the sleek design fool you, this handset was also designed with industrial grade features, making it rugged enough to take into any environment.

Rugged and Reliable Critical Lifelines

In short, this is a dependable, ruggedly built tool that you can count on to keep the communication lines open with safety as a top priority. It won’t play games, take pictures, or play MP3s, but what it will do, is work. Everywhere. It is engineered to withstand some of the world’s harshest environments, so the world’s toughest customers can depend on it as a critical lifeline whenever and wherever.

Enhanced Features

In addition to all the features you and your customers have come to expect from our trusted satellite phones, Iridium 9555 satellite phone also incorporates an integrated speakerphone, SMS and email messaging capabilities, and a Mini-USB data port. It continues the evolution of satellite phones, making communication more efficient and effective for end users.

Intuitive Communications

Iridium 9555 satellite phone features an intuitive user interface – making reliable communication more efficient than ever. No one wants to have to spend extra time worrying about how to work a new device that can detract from the business you need to get done or the fun you’d rather be doing. Not only is the phone easy to operate, but Satmodo simple to follow instructions so users can start making calls right out of the box. You’ll be able to skip the traditional learning curve with the 9555 as your choice.

Iridium 9575 Extreme

Satmodo offers an incredible lineup of satellite phones, one that works for every budget and every need. But when it comes to the best of the best, we narrowed it down to the Iridium 9575 Extreme. Here’s why.

If you’re looking for the best network and the best phone look no further than the Iridium 9575 Extreme This phone has the most ruggedized casing currently available with an IP rating of IP65. What does this mean? You can drop the phone in a puddle of water and it will still be 100% functional. Some other features this satellite phone processes is it has talk and text capability as well as location awareness with the ability to send GPS coordinates with a full integrated SOS button. The Iridium Extreme works off the unparallel Iridium network for around the globe coverage that will exceed your expectations.

Yes, it’s time to raise expectations of what a satellite phone should be. This is why we’ve deemed the Iridium Extreme 9575 as the best satellite phone 2023. It has all the features anyone would need in a satellite phone — letting you take durability, reliability, and versatility with you in hand, all over the world.

Stay in Touch

The Iridium Extreme® satellite phone is built with the same reliable voice and data capability that users have come to trust from the only real mobile, real global satellite communications company in the world. When they say worldwide, they mean it. Unlike other satellite networks that still have some dead zone areas where they won’t function, Iridium keeps going strong – even in the polar regions.

Feature-Rich

The Extreme 9575 satellite phone is engineered with an expansive feature set and a wide range of accessories including: leather case, car charger, magnetic vehicle-mount antenna with 5’ cable, hands-free earpiece with microphone and more. This provides people with more opportunities to connect and keep in contact anytime, anywhere – even on the go.

On Track

The fully integrated service profile of the Extreme 9575 is what makes it stand out above the rest of the satellite phone competition. Customizable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notifications give the user the peace of mind that they are always within reach. These key features can increase business efficiency, improve military and emergency response and keep tabs on critical assets. It’s more than a phone. Think: ultimate mobility, reliable tracking and coverage that truly can take you anywhere.

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2

Affordable, Yet Tough Enough to Go Anywhere

Inmarsat is considered the pioneer in mobile satellite communications. Though this reliable and high-quality network doesn’t offer coverage at the poles, you can count on it to keep you covered almost everywhere else in the world. If the polar regions aren’t in your travel plans, the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 just may be the perfect phone for you.

More Choice

The new-generation IsatPhone 2 joins IsatPhone Pro in Inmarsat’s handheld satellite phone portfolio – bringing more choice to customers wanting the reliability Inmarsat delivers for off-the-grid connectivity.

Ready for a Tough World

Locations we refer to as “remote” or “off the grid” often come at us with tough conditions. There’s a reason few people live there without a cell tower in site, after all. The IsatPhone 2 is a tough gps satellite phone ready to take on a tough world. The robust handset has been engineered to cope with anything that nature can throw at it – from searing heat to icy blasts, desert sandstorms or monsoon rain. It also offers unrivaled battery life. With 8 hours of talk time and up to 160 hours on standby, you can feel confident that this phone was meant to last.

Features for Days

IsatPhone 2’s design and capabilities, including safety features like the emergency assistance button and GPS location tracking, make it ideal for the most demanding of users. People working in sectors such as civil government, oil and gas, NGOs, and the media can rely on the IsatPhone 2 to get the job done. But it’s also just right for the single user who needs a reliable connection for a faraway adventure.

Top-Notch with Affordability

The IsatPhone 2 is a talk and text satellite phone but also has a built-in GPS receiver. Inmarsat offers the most affordable satellite phone price for the number of features and coverage you get with the IsatPhone 2. And with a wide range of service plans, it’s ready to fit right in your budget.

Globalstar GSP-1700

The Ultimate Handheld Portable Sat Phone

Imagine being able to connect to the people and data that matter most – in the places and times that traditional communications do not always work. Globalstar is a major player in satellite communications, bringing you the connectivity you need in many areas of the world. They’ve brought us the GSP-1700 satellite phone, an easily portable choice for the voice calls you need to make.

In the Palm of Your Hand

The GSP-1700 is an incredibly small and lightweight phone meaning it’s easy to take it anywhere. The ergonomic design makes this satellite phone easy to grip, hold, and put in your pocket. It has easy-to-use side volume keys, an any key answer functionality, and backlit color display for a simple to user interface.

Even On the Go

Not only is it easy to keep on your person, but when you use the optional GIK-1700 installation kit, you can easily create a complete satellite phone system in your vehicle or vessel. From the smallest car to the largest aircraft carrier, this satellite phone is ready to keep you connected even when en route. Antenna and cable length options were designed for ease of installation on land or sea – or users can simply use the phone hands-free with the optional industrial noise-canceling headset.

Small Phone, Huge Advantages

The GSP-1700 utilizes CDMA crystal-clear digital voice quality to give you a top user experience. Fast data speeds at 9.6 Kbps are another feature that make this satellite phone one of our top picks. As for safety? This phone has Position Location Service where you can get your Latitude and Longitude coordinates directly from your Globalstar satellite phone. Enjoy locally based phone numbers where available.

With Inmarsat connectivity services, frontline staff can make voice calls, send text messages and do all that’s necessary to distribute aid efficiently – no matter where they are in the world. Inmarsat connectivity can even be used to track key shipments of food, tents, blankets, and other lifesaving equipment so that your work has the greatest impact in the field.


(Please keep in mind that Globalstar GSP-1700 offers incoming texting but no outgoing texts.)

Comparison Chart

We've put together a sat phone comparison chart below to make it easy for you to shop for an affordable satellite phone and package best suited for your needs including quality of service (QoS), potential limitations, and advantages one satellite phone may have over another.

Compare
Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite phone
Iridium Extreme
Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone front
Iridium 9555
globalstar-1700
Globalstar GSP-1700
inmarsat_isat_2_-_main_image
IsatPhone 2
Pricing$1,495$1,395$499$874.99
CoverageGlobalGlobalRegionalGlobal (Non-Polar)
NetworkIridiumIridiumGlobalstarInmarsat
Battery Life4hr talk / 30hrs standby3hr talk / 30hrs standby4hr talk / 36hrs standby8hr talk / 160hrs standby
DurabilityMIL-STD 810FNANAIK04
Charging methodvia the USB port using a mini-USB cablevia the USB portUSA Ac AdapterAC charger
Data ConnectivityYes, via USB or Access PointMini USB, AudioMini USB, AudioMini USB, Audio
Data Speed (Uncompressed)2.4 Kbps2.5 Kbps9.6 Kbps2.4 Kbps
Emergency SOSYesNoNoYes
MPN/UPCCPKT1101BPKT0801706166016267885562000343
Weight8.7 oz (247g)9.38 oz (266g)7.05 oz (200g)11.14 oz (316 g)
Size5.5'' x 2.36''x 1.06'' (14.0 x 6.0 x 2.7 cm)5.5'' x 2.36''x 1.06'' (14.0 x 6.0 x 2.7 cm)5.5'' x 2.36''x 1.06'' (14.0 x 6.0 x 2.7 cm)6.65” x 2.95” x 1.14” (16.9 x 7.5 x 2.9 cm)
AntennaRetractable omni-
directional
Retractable omni-
directional
Fold-out
directional
Fold-out
directional
DisplayMonochromeMonochromeMonochromeMonochrome
Ingress ProtectionIP65NANAIP65
Text Messaging (SMS)SupportedSupported35 Character Receive OnlySupported
GPSYesN/AYes - During CallYes
InterfacesMini USB, AudioMini USB, AudioMini USB, AudioMini USB, Audio

Iridium

U.S. numbers available

Rollover available

Never run out of mins

FREE voicemail

Phone PlansPriceOutgoing Rates
20 min plan$64.99$1.60/ Extra Mins
40 min plan$79.99$1.39/ Extra Mins
60 min plan$104.99 $1.29/ Extra Mins
100 min plan$144.99$1.19/ Extra Mins

Inmarsat

U.S. numbers available

Never run out of mins

FREE voicemail

Phone PlansPriceOutgoing Rates
10 min monthly plan$54.99$1.19/ Extra Mins
30 min monthly plan$65.99$1.09/ Extra Mins
60 min monthly plan$75.99 $0.99/ Extra Mins
120 min monthly plan$120.99$0.94/ Extra Mins

Why do people need a satellite phone?

Satellite phones have become increasingly more popular year by year. They enable the everyday person to stay connected when traveling to remote locations where cell towers and data services are not available.

Satellite Phones: Affordable for the Masses

Satellite phones became a truly valuable asset when the Iridium network was launched. But when Iridium satellite phones were first available, they were offered at an unaffordable satellite phone price to the everyday consumer. Recently, satellite phones have become more affordable, making them an asset that more and more people and companies can have as part of emergency kits and as a backup phone when requiring one out of cellular network range it is also popularly used in most of the desert race.

Your Communication Lifeline

Satellite phones give peace of mind if an emergency were ever to arise.

When faced with a natural disaster terrestrial cell towers are the first to go down and all communication is lost. With the price of satellite phones drastically reduced from the early days of production, the communication solution for a century-long issue has finally arrived.

Similarly, traveling off the grid can feel freeing, but safety is compromised when a cell connection is lost with no line of communication available to the outside world.

Business as Usual, Wherever You Go

Industries typically known for operating off the grid such as oil and gas, shipping, construction, and aviation have historically been up against challenges where keeping everyday communication was concerned. Now, conducting worldwide businesses and staying connected to the mainland doesn’t have to skip a beat.

Likewise, remote travelers can stay connected to loved ones back home.

The Way Satellite Phones Work

Unlike cell phones, satellite phones require a line-of-site to the sky to obtain signal for the phone to operate. These phones will not work indoors such as a retirement home or a stateroom on a cruise. However, they will work on deck. And if you have a docking station and extended antenna they can be used indoors. Buildings, mountains, and forested areas can affect the signal of a satellite phone negatively.

What to Look for in a Satellite Phone

You may be well-versed in what’s hot in cell phones these days, but that doesn’t mean you know what to look for when it comes to a satellite phone. These are two very different types of devices that meet a separate need.

Whereas your cell phone brings you plenty of enjoyment and social connection through games and apps, satellite phones are all about communication functionality.

Iridium 9575 Extreme

Satellite Phone 101 for Off-Road Racers

Where are you traveling?

If you are going to be in an area where cellular service is unavailable, you need a satellite phone. Beyond that, you need to check coverage areas of specific satellite phone networks so that you make sure you’ll be covered. For example, Iridium covers you worldwide, whereas other networks will have some spots where a connection won’t be possible. See coverage maps here.

What are the conditions?

If you’ll be operating your satellite phone in dusty or wet conditions, you’ll need a rugged phone that can handle the elements. Pay attention to things like IP rating and whether it’s labeled as industrial grade.

What kind of portability do you require?

Some phones are bigger than others, so if you’re looking for top portability, you’ll want to be on the look out for a satellite phone with a smaller form factor (such as the Iridium 9555.) Additionally, vehicle-mount antennas make on-the-go communication an option, too.

How often will you use it?

Not everyone requires a satellite phone for the same reasons. If you’re going to use it daily for business, considering battery life and talk-time are really important (as well as if it has the features to conduct business as you require). For those just needing a satellite phone in case of an emergency, these factors may be less important. 

What is your budget?

You don’t need to break the bank to have a fully operable satellite phone that you can rely on. To stay within your budget, consider the features you can’t go without and start there. We’re sure you can find an affordable option that fits your needs.z

Iridium Certus will enable us to provide broadband connections to teams, vehicles and the important IoT ‘things’ that are in the 80-plus percent of the world that lacks cellular coverage

Matt Desch - Iridium

Satellite Phone Plans

We offer flexible pricing for the Iridium pre-paid plans that fit your satellite phones. For custom plans please call (800) 279-2366. Satmodo is a satellite phone service provider for Iridium.

75 Minute

30 Day Pre-Paid

$15495
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

200 Minute

6 Month Pre-Paid

$54999
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

600 Minute

12 Month Pre-Paid

$89499
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

1000 Minute

24 Month Pre-Paid

$1,63995
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

3000 Minute

24 Month Pre-Paid

$2,94495
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

5000 Minute

24 Month Pre-Paid

$4,69595
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

With all satellite phone monthly cost Iridium plans you are able to add on Rollover Minutes and U.S. Numbers. Monthly plans add an extra layer of security knowing that your sim card will never run out of minutes. All satellite phone monthly cost differs from service providers. For custom plans please call (800) 279-2366

20 Minutes

$1.60/ Extra Mins

$6499
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

40 Minutes

$1.39/ Extra Mins

$7999
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

60 Minutes

$1.29/ Extra Mins

$10499
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

100 Minutes

$1.19/ Extra Mins

$14499
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

200 Minutes

$1.09/ Extra Mins

$24499
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

500 Minutes

$1.09/ Extra Mins

$53499
  • U.S. numbers available
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

Monthly Plans​

Inmarsat satellite phones offer service plans that are budget-friendly and fit your needs. All satellite phone monthly cost differs from service providers. For custom plans please call (800) 279-2366

10 Minutes

$1.19/ Extra Mins

$5499
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

30 Minutes

$1.09/ Extra Mins

$6599
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

60 Minutes

$0.99/ Extra Mins

$7599
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

120 Minutes

$0.94/ Extra Mins

$12099
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

720 Minutes

$0.89/ Extra Mins

$63599
  • Rollover available
  • Never run out of mins
  • FREE voicemail

With Globalstar satellite phones you have the option of monthly plans at an affordable rate. Globalstar phones are great for use in the U.S. All satellite phone monthly cost differs from service providers. For custom plans please call (800) 279-2366

Orbit 150

150 Minutes

$7999
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • Extra Minutes $.99/min
  • Free Voicemail

Orbit 200

200 Minutes

$9999
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • Extra Minutes $.99/min
  • Free Voicemail

Orbit Unlimited

Unlimited Minutes

$19999
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • Extra Minutes Unlimited
  • Free Voicemail

Globalstar gives you the option of prepaid satellite phone internet plans at an affordable rate. Globalstar phones are great for use in the U.S. For custom plans please call (800) 279-2366

Galaxy 1800

1,800 Minutes

$960
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

Galaxy 2400

2400 Minutes

$1,200
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

Galaxy Unlimited

Unlimited Minutes

$2,400
  • Low Airtime Rates
  • No Commitment
  • Add mins any time

Reviews From Customers


Satellite phone service differs from each different service provider. It can range from $39.99 a month up to $629.99 a month for postpaid options. Pretty much all service providers offer you an option of monthly service and pre-paid options as well.
Satellite phone cost varies from brand to brand.
The Iridium satellite service provider offers the only global coverage. Other satellite phone service providers offer wide coverage but they are not global.
Your cell phone can’t connect directly with a satellite network because it simply isn’t designed to do that. Optionally, you can use a device like the Iridium GO! to connect your smart phone or tablet to the Iridium Satellite Network. Your phone basically acts as your keyboard and screen, while the GO! connects you to the satellites.
Satellite Phone usage is more expensive than cell phones or landlines because of supply and demand and the billions of dollars required to develop, build, launch, and maintain these intricate satellite networks for the major providers: Iridium, Inmarsat & Globalstar.
  • Satellite Phones are not illegal in most of the world. Some countries do ban them for political reasons, but this is the exception, not the rule.
  • Countries that have satellite phone restrictions
  • India
    • The only satellite phone and network that India allows is Inmarsat and you must obtain permission before your trip. If you do not have a permit and you bring one you may be imprisoned and you will lose the satellite phone.
  • Sri Lanka
    • If you do not have a permit and you bring a satellite phone to Sri Lanka you may be arrested and it will cost you thousands and a confiscated phone.
  • Cuba
    • Satellite phones or GPS communications system are forbidden in Cuba unless you have taken all the steps necessary to obtain a permit from the Cuban Ministry of Informatics and Communications.
  • Sudan
    • Sudan bans most electronic devices. We highly suggest looking into this matter when you are applying for your Visa or other travel paper work.
  • North Korea
    • North Korea does not allow you to bring satellite phones with you.
  • Nigeria
    • Nigeria has banned satellite phones in certain areas due to terrorist groups. It’s unclear what the law is there about satellite phones but looking into the matter is highly encouraged.
  • Myanmar
    • There has been much unrest and infighting in Myanmar/Burma. In the past most communications was disabled and outside communications was not allowed. This is a country where you have to do your own checking before renting or buying a sat phone.
  • Chad
    • Chad restricts the use of a satellite phone or possessing one.
  • Russia
    • Requires registration prior to bringing the satellite phone in. Satmodo will help you with this step.
  • Iran
    • Iran has restrictions on many electronic devices, like satellite phones and drones. If you are planning to travel to Iran, it is recommended that you first contact the Iranian embassy or consulate to familiarize yourself with the regulations.
  • Libya
    • Certain satellite phone networks were banned in the past and current laws are unclear. Please look into this before committing to a sat phone.
Yes you can. We have all the best sat phone options available for you, regardless of your destination. Make sure to take a look at our selection. Please let us know if you have any questions.
It is possible. The government has every right to contact the satellite network to reveal the user identity. However, because you would purchase the phone through Satmodo Satellite Phones, the satellite network would simply tell the authorities that it was a Satmodo phone.
The Iridium 9555, Iridium 9575 Extreme, Iridium PTT and Iridium GO! all operate and connect on Iridium’s global network which will keep you connected anywhere on the planet. These units are available for Rental or Purchase.
It is possible. It would take very specific information about the phone’s SIM card to work, but it is definitely possible.
The standard satellite phones like the Iridium 9555, Iridium 9575 Extreme, Iridium PTT, Iridium GO!, Inmarsat Isatphone2 and Globalstar GSP-1700 are great for making & receiving calls, or sending & receiving text messages, and some can even send SOS signals and GPS coordinates. That being said… nope. They don’t work with WhatsApp.
The right satellite phone can work anywhere on earth because the primary infrastructure is orbiting the planet and does not use any cell towers or repeaters to make the connection possible. Your connection is directly to the satellite in the sky.
Satellite phones can be used almost anywhere for any reason. Many people use satellite phones in remote areas while traveling for hunting, hiking, fishing, off-road racing, and cruises.
Satellite phones are critical for relief work in the event of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, wildfire, earthquake, or tsunami. Traditional communications, like landlines and cell phones, are often negatively impacted in these events, so a sat phone becomes the only reliable form of communication for the rescue workers and first responders rushing into these risky scenarios.

The best satellite phone you can buy is:

  1. Iridium Extreme
  2. Iridium 9555
  3. Iridium GO!
  4. IsatPhone 2
  5. Isatphone Pro
  6. Globalstar GSP-1700
Reliable: Even if the mobile phone fails, satellite phones continue to work and are not affected by the failure. Most satellite phones also have amazing battery packs that don’t drain quickly, so it really is a reliable communication tool. Easy to Use: Satellite phones are not as complicated as regular phones
Most satellite phones can be tracked by their own GPS systems. Although it is possible to track a satellite phone by its radio emissions, it would require a trained technician and special equipment. Many satellite phones also share location automatically.
For a Globalstar phone, you can simply dial 911. From an Iridium satellite phone, dial 112. This number will direct your call to the emergency number for the country you are in.
Iridium Communications satellite phones use frequencies between 1616 and 1626.5 MHz to communicate with satellites. Inmarsat terminals use frequencies between 1525 and 1646.5 MHz, Thuraya satellite phones use frequencies between 1525 and 1661 MHz.

Satmodo LLC is offering this information to be helpful and informative. This is not being offered as legal advice in any way. We highly encourage you to do your own research and contact the embassy or consulate for the country that you will be traveling too.

Terms

*One time $50 activation fee for all pre-paid and monthly plans
*All monthly plans are a 12 month contract

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