Do Satellite Phones Work Everywhere?

You must have been gone through the time when you were in the middle of nowhere but you were unable to contact someone due to the limited cell phone coverage. Since the cell phones do not provide a network in various parts of the world because of the limited range of the cell phone terrestrial towers, therefore your travel series to the Everest or Sahara desert is usually ruined when you roam here and there for one bar of a signal that your cell phone can catch. To deal with this complex situation, technology has come up with the best solution that is “satellite phones”. It uses the sat phone plan for connectivity.

Who doesn’t love technology? We all do, it is such a magical feeling when you can video chat with the one you love who is several miles away, or when you put a simple key in the ignition to travel through many places in your car or heating your favorite food in seconds through the microwave. Technology has eased our lives in many ways, one of which is the satellite or sat phones. The question here arises is that do satellite phones work anywhere as it promises or not? In order to understand the coverage that sat phones provide, one must know what is a satellite phone, how it works?

What Is A Satellite Phone?

A satellite phone is a type of mobile phone that connects with the satellite rather than the cell phone towers to which the cell phone connects. The network coverage can range from a particular area to the entire earth depending on the type of service. Do cell phones use satellites too? No, not really, this is the reason that sat phones reaches to areas where the cell phone can’t. They let you call from anywhere around the world because their structure is out of the world. They do not depend on the towers but they transfer data directly through the satellites which are orbiting the earth. This huge technological leap let the sat phones to connect freely without the earth-based restrictions. Therefore they are the preferred communication devices for the areas which are poor or densely populated where natural disasters have destructed the system or where governments have put cell and internet restrictions.  Though a little bulkier, satellite telephones have all the capabilities that a normal smartphone has. The important thing to understand is that how the Satellite phone plan works?

How Does Satellite Telephone Work?

A good answer about the satellite phones how it works is described here. The satellite telephones rely on satellites to operate until now we are aware of this. But they tend to work differently which depends on the satellite system that the company deploys. Some companies go for geosynchronous satellites while some opt for low earth orbit (LEO) satellite systems. Each system has its own configurations, constellations, pros, and cons. The geosynchronous also known as GEO orbit or high earth orbit satellites stay in the same position in the sky and follows the earth as it spins. They are high altitude satellites which maintain a 22000 miles distance from earth and always centered above the Earth’s equator. They are large powerful satellites and each of them can cover a large area on the earth. If a company has a constellation of three to four GEO satellites than it can provide the network for most of the globe. They are meant to cater large volumes of data which means that the sat phones cannot only be used for voice calls but also for watching videos, sharing files, texting messages and much more. Thuraya and Inmarsat are the two companies that use geosynchronous satellites.

On the other hand, LEO is the low orbits satellites which are 930 miles away and are operated by the companies Iridium and Globalstar. The LEOs are considered as mosquitoes as compared to GEOs, but they possess various qualities. As they are very small, light and low in orbits, a company may need at least 60 satellites to provide coverage for all of the Earth. You may be in the range of two or more satellites at a particular time because they travel around the planet at 1700 miles per hour. These low and fast satellites provide better services as compared to GEO satellites as they require more time to process data. LEOs provide superior call quality, dependability and lower delays. The LEO satellite telephones are the preferred devices when you are in the emergency and need immediate contact. Though the LEOs are not suitable for watching videos, they are portable as compared to GEOs. However, an important thing to know about how do satellite phone plans work is that you need to have a line of sight in order to operate the satellite telephone, which means if you are indoors then it will be difficult to have a connection. If you are in the area when someone is calling you desperately but the connection doesn’t seem to fit then you will get a pager alert that someone wants to call you, once you move to a better location.

To be precise, the satellite phone sends signals to the satellite which then transmits it back down to the earth and here the station will route the call to the telephone network. Some cases also call for transmitting a signal from one satellite to another in order to transfer it to the Earth. The outbound calls done from the sat phones on the ground are transferred to the satellite in the line of sight and then reaches the correct satellite by traveling through some of the satellites in between and then transferred to the appropriate station at the ground.


Do satellite phones work anywhere is the tension that anyone who wants to purchase the sat phone is considered about. The satellite telephones have the capability to work around the globe though the conditions vary. The sat phone has to be under the sky in order to make a contact. Do cell phone use satellites? No, it doesn’t hat is why the cell phones cannot provide the coverage that satellite telephones can.