For people who travel regularly, staying connected can be a challenge. Mobile phones rely on local cell stations to transmit signals. Most mobile providers have impressive coverage that is good enough for the casual user. However, for people who travel to far off, remote places, this is usually not enough.
In rural areas, mobile coverage disappears completely. You do not get any signal on your phone, and you will not be able to receive any calls.
There is also the issue of international roaming costs. If you travel abroad, you will have to pay for expensive international roaming costs, which really cuts into your savings. It might be better to switch to a satellite telephone, which is a more cost-effective option in some cases.
Global Coverage for the Same Sized Device
Satellite phones are nowhere near as stylish and attractive as the smartphones of today. They look like bulky two-way radio transceivers. But this is where function trumps form: Satellite phones offer global coverage unmatched by any mobile service provider.
Satellite phones rely on the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), which uses portable terminals to transmit signals. As long as the port has a clear line of sight with the nearest satellite, it will transmit reliably.
There are only a few types of satellite phones available, and one of the most popular is the Iridium. Iridium has small, portable handsets and is the only network that has coverage in the South and North Poles. Most satellites are in a low Earth orbit circling the equator and lack coverage. When you want to travel as far as humanly possible, an Iridium phone is a great choice.
A Great Option, But Not Entirely Foolproof
Satellite phones provide global coverage, but it is not entirely foolproof. Some networks do not cover specific areas of the world. For example, there are satellite networks that have no coverage in the entire continent of North America.
Signal jammers and other devices also affect satellite phones. Tall buildings also affect coverage as they block signals from the satellites in space.
Nevertheless, a satellite phone is the closest thing available to a global network. As technology improves, it will only become more reliable.