In today’s communication-driven world, staying connected is more important than ever. Smartphones, convenient WiFi access, and expansive LTE networks have allowed people to share information in the mere blink of an eye. According to a 2018 article from Forbes, humans produce a staggering (and estimated) 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and that pace of data creation is expected to increase. The article also states that, within the last two years alone, about 90 percent of the world’s total data was created. Truly, that is incredible!

Stay In Touch When You’re Far Away From Civilization

While effortlessly and instantly sharing data is a beautiful thing, and as prevalent and widespread as technology is these days, there’s a major problem: the majority of the Earth’s surface lacks network coverage. All it takes is venturing out into the wilderness, setting sail out into the depths of the world’s oceans, or living in a remote area that isn’t developed to discover that your smartphone is next to useless.

In order to stay connected to other people around the world, there’s only one true solution: satellite phones.

The Value Of Satellite Phones

Simply put, satellite phone (or satphone) technology allows the user to connect to a global satellite network. Instead of searching for a connection to nearby terrestrial cell sites and phone towers — which are often hundreds of miles away and out of range in a given situation — satellite phones connect to “nearby” orbiting satellites.

Some satellite phone systems provide limited coverage relative to a specific remote area, while other plans may offer more universal coverage. What brand, plan, and type of phone you end up choosing depends on where you’ll be and what your communication needs are. Satellite phone rentals are available, and our handy buyer’s guide can help you decide what specific option is best for you.

Why Aren’t Satellite Phones Used By...Everyone?

In a perfect and extensively developed world, everyone would have a mobile device with global coverage in order to stay connected. One might wonder, “Why aren’t satellite phones more universally used? Why limit coverage to developed areas of the earth?” Those are fair and logical questions, and this blog post actually answers them.

To summarize our article, here’s why satellite phone technology isn’t used as a standard communication device:

  • Time delays (lag) aren’t uncommon.

  • Satellite phones can be finicky when used indoors.

  • Physically speaking, satellite phones can be very bulky and unattractive.

  • In certain countries, it’s actually illegal or unlawful to use a satellite phone.

  • It’s not very cost-effective (we’ll get to more on this below).

The Need To Stay Connected

As we’re sure you could surmise, satellite phones aren’t necessarily used by choice, but rather, they’re used as a matter of necessity. When you’re caught in an emergency situation in the remote wilderness or out at sea and your only lifeline is a bulky device, you’ll be glad that you had it on you. Even if you’re in a non-emergency situation, a call to the outside world can be immensely beneficial for the purposes of work in the way of land surveying, development, natural resource harvesting, warning about incoming weather systems, and so forth.

Focusing On Satellite SIM Cards

Below, we’ll be taking a close look at the ins and outs of satellite phone SIM cards, various prepaid plans, major brands including Iridium, Thuraya, and Inmarsat, and how to make extensive satellite phone usage more cost effective for you and your affiliates.

Similar to how standard terrestrial mobile phone technology works, satellite phones also use a SIM card to transfer data, personal information, and other digital items specific to your device. “SIM” is an acronym that stands for “Subscriber Identity Module.” While it’s possible to switch network carriers with a standard mobile phone and simply swap out your existing SIM card, a satellite communication device is designed to work with one, specific network only. As we mentioned above, the primary (and most trusted) satellite phone brands that we work with are Iridium, Thuraya, and Inmarsat.

Iridium Satellite SIM Cards

By carrying Iridium prepaid SIM cards and satellite phone plans, Outfitter Satellite is able to offer a number of global prepaid and regional prepaid plans. As you might imagine, the most popular Iridium prepaid SIM card plans provide global service, and global service vouchers range from 75 minutes to 5,000 minutes. Validity extensions are also available, but only in the form of reloads.

Whether you’re in need of a more economical but regionally restricted prepaid SIM card plan from Iridium or a global prepaid plan, rest assured that ALL Iridium SIM card plans include voicemail and data capability. Iridium SIM cards are also a convenient option for many users because any unused minutes can carry forward for up to three years from the original prepaid voucher purchase date (if the account is reloaded prior to the expiration date). In any case, Outfitter Satellite sends our customers a courtesy email notification prior to this expiration date. From there, you can instantly and effortlessly reload minutes onto your plan at any time.

Regional Prepaid Plans With Iridium Satellite SIM Cards

Iridium offers three regional prepaid options for their satellite SIM cards: Alaska-Canada, Latin America, and Africa. While Alaska-Canada and Latin America come with 200 minutes standard and a validity of six months, Africa Regional comes with 300 minutes standard with a validity of 12 months.

The details and geographic perimeters of each region are as follows:

Alaska-Canada Home Zone

The Alaska-Canada Home Zone is primarily intended for land-only travel, but coverage does include up to 12 nautical miles into Alaska and Canada’s respective coastal waters. The entire mainland of these areas are, of course, covered.

Africa Home Zone

The Africa Home Zone covers:

  • Algeria

  • Angola

  • Benin

  • Botswana

  • Burkina Faso

  • Burundi

  • Cameroon

  • Cape Verde

  • Central African Republic

  • Chad

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

  • Djibouti

  • Egypt

  • Equatorial Guinea

  • Eritrea

  • Ethiopia

  • Gabon

  • Gambia

  • Ghana

  • Guinea and Guinea-Bissau

  • Juana De Nova Island

  • Kenya

  • Lesotho

  • Madagascar

  • Malawi

  • Mali

  • Mauritania

  • Mauritius

  • Mayotte

  • Morocco

  • Mozambique

  • Namibia

  • Niger

  • Nigeria

  • Senegal

  • Sierra Leone

  • South Africa

  • Edwards Island

  • United Republic of Tanzania

  • Tunisia

  • Uganda

  • Zambia

  • Zimbabwe

Like the Alaska-Canada regional coverage, the Africa Home Zone also includes up to 12 nautical miles of coverage into associated coastal waters.

Latin America Home Zone

The Latin America Home Zone is extensive when you get a prepaid Iridium SIM card. It includes

Mexico, Central America, all of South America, and coastal waters spanning up to 12 miles past the shoreline of the associated country. However, it should be noted that any areas within the Caribbean do not have any coverage.

Thuraya Prepaid Satellite SIM Cards

In addition to our premium prepaid satellite SIM card carrier, Iridium, Outfitter Satellite is also happy to carry satellite SIM cards from Thuraya. Thuraya is another trusted name in satellite phone technology, and they too offer a number of prepaid SIM card plans for satellite phone users seeking regional and global coverage.

Thuraya’s Prepay Plus Plan is typically the best prepaid plan for most users in terms of value. However, this can vary depending on where you’ll be using your Thuraya device. Thuraya’s SIM card packages are valid 12 months from the first call you make, while prepaid vouchers utilize an electronic “scratch” code. This information is then emailed to you, and can then be loaded directly onto your Thuraya device following a simple prompt.

Unlike Iridium’s Home Zone regional systems, Thuraya prepaid satellite SIM cards are divided into zones that consist of one of three bands. Zone E also includes many different areas and countries around the world in which your Thuraya prepaid SIM card will function. Visit this link to learn more about the specific countries and areas offered through Thuraya’s regional coverage.

To learn more about global coverage offered through Thuraya prepaid satellite SIM cards, please contact Outfitter Satellite.

Inmarsat Prepaid SIM Cards

Inmarsat BGAN is a popular remote internet provider with flexible monthly plans and voucher options. Inmarsat offers nearly global coverage with their devices with the exception of polar regions. When on land, signals may be blocked or “masked” by rugged terrain such as mountain peaks when the user is above 50 degrees North or below 50 degrees South in latitude.

Inmarsat devices fueled by prepaid satellite SIM card plans are also noted for good reliability backed by geostationary satellites. Call drops are relatively rare on land, but may occur more often when mountainous or rugged, protruding terrain interrupts the connection.

You Should Know: The Federal Universal Service Fund

When shopping for a satellite SIM card package from Iridium, Thuraya, or Inmarsat, you’ll likely come across “USF.” “USF” stands for the Federal Universal Service Fund, and was created (to no surprise) by the federal government with the intention of providing reliable and affordable global telecommunications services for all — especially those with a relatively low-income and those living in high-cost, remote and rural areas.

The intention of the federally mandated USF is also to provide discounted telecommunications services for educational organizations and rural healthcare facilities around the world. It’s with these intentions in mind that all telecommunications providers are required, by law, to pay into the USF (including Outfitter Satellite). These required contributions may then be “recovered” by the customers of these telecommunications companies in the way of a nominal fee per transaction or purchase.

At Outfitter Satellite, it’s our goal as much as it is our passion to provide customers like you with low-cost and high-quality global and regional telecommunications services, such as our satellite SIM cards for sale. We bill this Universal Service Fund fee as a separate item on your invoice in order to help us better assess and recoup the cost of our total USF payment. In other words, your USF payment to us is a contribution that goes toward the betterment of telecommunication services around the world, not as money in our pockets.

Are There Other Taxes And Duties I Should Know About?

The customer should understand that our listed prices for our satellite SIM card products, whether through Iridium, Thuraya, or Inmarsat, may not necessarily include taxes in the form of:

  • Sales

  • Usage

  • Excise

  • Customs

  • Ad Valorem

  • Property

  • Other taxes, duties, or fees imposed by another governmental body

Why Outfitter Satellite?

We’d be remiss to state that we’re the only satellite SIM card provider online, let alone the only online satellite phone provider on the market. Outfitter Satellite recognizes that we do have competition, and that’s why we work hard to provide our customers with an unparalleled selection of products, dedication to stellar customer service, and adjusting our inventory according to market demand.

We’re proud to be a BBB Accredited Business, and we’re verified by GeoTrust®. We’re also verified by VISA and hold MasterCard SecureCode verification. The reality of satellite phone technology is that, unfortunately, it’s far from cheap, but secure financial transactions are still at the core of our business.

People Trust Us

These days, a company isn’t worth its salt without a wealth of positive customer experiences to backup their claims. Through Yotpo, we’ve been able to generate 243+ certified reviews with a 4.5 star (out of 5) average. When it comes to something as important and crucial as providing your lifeline to the outside world when you’re far away from civilization, you’ll want to work with a trusted satellite communications provider like us.

We’re Here To Help

Whether you’re renting your satellite phone, weighing Iridium versus Thuraya and Inmarsat for prepaid satellite SIM cards for sale, or considering outright purchasing a brand new satellite phone, you’re likely being thorough about your purchase decision — as you should be! You have questions, and our friendly and knowledgeable team is here to help answer them.

Stay Connected With Satellite SIM Cards For Sale From Outfitter Satellite

When you’re out exploring, adventuring, working, or sailing the open seas, your connection to someone else could very well mean the difference between life and death. Get the satellite phone solutions you’re looking for by shopping our prepaid satellite SIM card products today, or as always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions.