Cell phones don't work everywhere. Iridium satellite phones do. Keep in touch with your friends and associates wherever you are -- anywhere on earth. Outfitter Satellite rents and sells a variety of Iridium phones. The most popular Iridium phones are compared below.
Global coverage is accomplished using a sophisticated mesh network of 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in polar orbits about 781 km above the earth. Iridium performs call switching in space instead of on earth so that the call path is unaffected by local earth weather conditions. Since Iridium satellites are relatively close to the earth, the call latency experienced by Iridium users is almost unnoticeable compared to the latency experienced by callers using the Inmarsat or Thuraya satellite networks that use geostationary satellites.
In 2019, the second-generation of Iridium satellites (called Iridium NEXT) entered commercial service. Iridium continues to support the 850,000 existing Iridium subscriptions on existing Iridium equipment, but Iridium NEXT satellites will support additional capabilities including Iridium Certus terminals with dramatically faster internet speeds.
Iridium Service Plans
Outfitter Satellite offers a variety of service plans for every application including short-season plans and prepaid plans. Some plans offer airtime bundles and lower per minute rates for those that expect to have high amounts usage. We also offer rollover bundles on some plans that allow you to purchase minutes that rollover to subsequent months until you need them, allowing you to have a relatively uniform monthly cost even though your usage varies from very little in some months to heavy usage in other months. Our rollover plans have a Max Rollover number which is the maximum number of minutes you can accumulate without losing minutes. Ask our customer service staff for details.
Is a US Number Helpful?
Users with docked satellite phones that are always ready to receive calls often choose to have a US Number. However, most satellite phones in the field are kept powered off to save battery strength. So, in this case, a US number has no benefit because incoming calls route to voice mail, and retrieving the voice mail causes additional airtime costs. Fortunately, there is a better way! Tell your friends to send a free text message to your satellite phone. Here are instructions. Also, it is important to understand that your Iridium mobile number (not your US number) will appear on caller ID.
Iridium Phone and Internet Terminal Options
Iridium offers a variety of equipment for various applications. Handheld Iridium satellite phones like the Iridium 9575 Extreme offer voice, text, 2.4 kbps data, GPS services, and personal alert services. The Iridium GO! is a small portable WiFi hotspot designed to pair with your smartphone. The chart below compares current state-of-the-art Iridium and Inmarsat satellite phones. Inmarsat is that Iridium has global coverage pole-to-pole. Because the Iridium network uses 66 LEO satellites spread uniformly over the surface of the earth, Iridium users are able to communicate even in mountainous terrain.
Iridium Push-to-Talk provides simultaneous voice and text communications amongst large groups of users. Iridium PTT can be made interoperable with most land mobile radio equipment using systems like the iMatrix. Please contact us for more information.
Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) is used for global messaging and tracking applications. Outfitter Satellite has a variety of off-the-shelf systems for both individual personnel tracking and vehicle tracking. Typical applications include personnel safety checks, emergency alert notifications, speeding and geofence violation alert notifications and other kinds of monitoring and control. If you need more customized capabilities than are available from our off-the-shelf solutions, we can help you develop your own system with secure web portal access.
Iridium Certus offers broadband internet with internet access speeds up to 700 kbps for both land vehicles and marine vessels. Certus terminals can also be integrated into a transport case for land portable applications requiring multiple phone lines and broadband internet.
Docking Stations & External Antennas
In-building command centers and maritime applications typically require a docking station and external antenna for your Iridium handheld satellite phone. Some docking stations such as the BEAM PotsDock have an RJ-11 phone port and an optional privacy handset. Docking stations can run on wall power or DC vehicle power. The satellite phone's antenna adapter will allow it to be used directly with external antennas without a docking station, which may be useful in some situations. External antennas for fixed-site buildings, land vehicles, boats, and aircraft are available including the following:
Marine Mast Antenna with 10, 20 and 30-meter antenna cables
Low-Profile Car Antenna with 5-meter cable
Dual-Mode Iridium-GPS Antenna with 6-meter cable set
Aero Patch Antenna with 15 foot cable set
Active Antenna with antenna cables up to 52 meters