Owning a land telephone in the past gave great convenience to everyone. It helped a lot in facilitating faster and easier contact with family, work and friends. Just imagine how much time and effort was saved when, instead of going to your neighbor’s house to know if she happened to have an extra onion, all you needed to do was pick up the phone to ask.
But land telephone had many limitations. Because you need to attach it to a line installation, you can’t take it with you when you leave your house. This is the reason why we all embraced the introduction of mobile phones. Not only are they handy, they allow wide range of access from state-to-state as well as overseas.
And yet, much as we love our cell phones, certain portions of the Earth remain to be inaccessible by cell phone transmitting stations. Good thing there are satellite phones that can provide absolute worldwide coverage.
A satellite phone is very much the same as the mobile phone. The difference is that instead of cell sites, the former is linked to a satellite that is orbiting in space. The coverage provided by a satellite phone depends on the server network to which it is connected. Some server networks have global coverage while others revolve around a specific region only.
The following are the major satellite networks supporting satellite communication on Earth:
- Globastar network has 44 satellites roaming space, spreading its coverage to all directions of the Earth. However many parts of the Earth remain out of reach by a globastar phone mainly because the network has no Earth station.
- Iridium network has a constellation of 66 satellites. It has a more expansive coverage than Globastar. Iridium satellite started operation in 1998.
Both Globastar and Iridium satellite systems are now being manned by new owners and there are plans to replace their old constellations with wider-ranged systems, promising a lot in store for their subscribers.
Apart from the two previously mentioned satellite phone service providers, there is also the Inmarsat Satellite Phone Service that commenced operation in 1979. It has an excellent coverage of the entire planet however with exceptions of the North and South Pole areas.
The Thuraya Satellite Phone Service is the baby of all phone satellite systems in the sense that it was established only in 2001. It has limited coverage mostly of Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Satellite Phone models are very similar to your mobile phones. The prototype models were bigger and heavier but in time they evolved to be as handy as your latest cell phone model. Nowadays there are satellite phones being sold at very affordable prices. But these are the low-quality models. If you plan to have a truly reliable and durable satellite phone you must be ready with some cash because the best model can cost you as much as a thousand dollars per unit.
Japan-made satellite phones are actually among the best models that ever came out in the market. Two latest models that are now for sale are the Sable 1 and Explorer 727. These two models are the first of their kind and can be mounted in a car so motorists can communicate while on the road.