The need for communications with global coverage is increasingly apparent. Iridium uses a fleet of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites to provide total global coverage. Whether you are on a remote island in the South Pacific or in a deep mountain valley in Nepal, Iridium phones can make calls, send texts or even download the local weather. Finally, you can roam the earth with perfect confidence that you will be able to stay connected.

Outfitter Satellite offers an extensive array of Iridium phones and devices. Iridium handheld phones have been the go to equipment for global or regional emergency response organizations for about a decade. But, Iridium has not stopped there. The Iridium 9603 SBD has a foot print barely larger than a postage stamp, but it is used for global asset tracking. The Iridium Pilot has 3 voice channels and global internet access speeds up to 128 kbps. Now, Iridium is offering a small hotspot device, called the Iridium GO!. The Iridium GO! is designed to give your iPhone, iPad or Android access to the power of their global network. This article compares the benefits of Iridium's traditional handheld satellite phones to the benefits of the ground-breaking GO! hotspot. Which is the right choice for you?

Iridium Phones: 9555

The Iridium 9555 is the basic work horse Iridium phone.   It is a stand-alone no frills phone for making calls and sending SMS messages. It also has 2400 bps data capability. The Iridium 9555 standard kit includes a belt holster an is easy to carry weighing in at only 9.4 oz.  It comes standard with a 4-hour talk time battery but an optional 6.5 hour Hi Cap battery is available.   Other features of the Iridium 9555 include:

  • integrated speakerphone
  • email-to-text capability
  • mini-USB data port
  • intuitive user interface

Iridium Phones:  9575 EXTREME

The Iridium 9575 EXTREME is the most feature rich device in the family of Iridium phones.  A built-in GPS feature lets you see your location and text it to others.  This Iridium phone also can be set to automatically text a bread crumb trail of your GPS positions.  You simply engage or disable the personal tracking feature with a button on the side of the phone.  In case of a personal emergency, the Iridium 9575 EXTREME has  a one-touch S.O.S. button.  This innovative feature lets you send your GPS position to multiple email or text addresses along with a canned message telling your friends that you are having an emergency and that they need to respond.  Key features of the 9575 EXTREME include:

  •  An aggressive IP65 rating against water and dust intrusion assures it is ready for almost any EXTREME environment.
  • Diamond tread grip to help you keep your hold on the phone -- even in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Location Based Services (LBS) for use with web portal based tracking services.  The web portal can track one or multiple users on a single screen and is useful for large organizations with field workers operating in remote locations.

Iridium GO! Wi-Fi Hotspot for your Smart Phone or Tablet

This Iridium phone is a standalone hotspot that will allow up to 5 Android or iOS smart phones or tablets to access Iridium services. This is done through two main apps that you download for free via your device's app store.
Only one smart phone or tablet can actually make or receive a call at any given time, but all of them can send texts, emails, share photos,  post to Twitter or Facebook, or view local weather information.
The Iridium GO! has powerful GPS features like the Iridium 9575 EXTREME, allowing you to automatically send position reports.  This is especially useful for users on small recreational marine craft because the GPS position reports are billed as SMS messages, and Outfitter Satellite offers several plans with unlimited SMS messaging for a fixed monthly fee.
If you have a personal emergency, the Iridium GO! has a one-touch S.O.S. button that allows you to send a GPS location report and a canned message to a list of text or email addresses. This means your friends will know you have an emergency.  The S.O.S. can also be sent from the Iridium GO! app on your smart phone or tablet.
So now that you have looked at your choices, which Iridium phone or device is right for you?  Let us know your thoughts below.