Satellite Phone models and there current effectiveness

Satellite Phone models and there current effectiveness

Steve Wall - 17-Oct-2013

There are many different Satellite Phones and they are all restricted to their own specific network. So to help you know if that exta cheap phone you are considering buying is going to work on the plan you want we have compiled this list of satellite phones and the networks they are associated with.

Iridium - the leader in handheld satellite phones.

  • Kyocera SS-66K- discontinued in 1999 - good handset but really showing its age, expect to see faults starting to show
  • 9500 - discontinued 1999 - good handset but really showing its age, expect to see faults starting to show
  • 9505 - discontinued 2002 - was a reasonable replacement to the 9500 but had some minor faults that were corrected in the nxt model.
  • 9505a - discontinued 2008 however there are expensive hand made models still in production to replace phones that were part of car or building kits. good phone that still will get you out of trouble, a good starting point for the price concious.
  • 9555 - Current model since 2008 - works well and is the industry standard handset.
  • 9575 - also a current model since 2011 - performs similar to the 9575 however is ip65 rated so it more robust and also takes advantage of some added features such as gps and a panic button.

Inmarsat - the leader in satellite communications but normally specialise in the marine and media industry. 
  • IsatPhone - discontinued original model handheld to be launched on the I4 satellites. had significant failures and wouldnt be recommended.
  • ISatPhone PRo - current model - fantastic entry level handset. great for most uses and in particular recreationalmarket due to low entry price and cheap prepaid credit

Globalstar - Previously a good system but when the satellites failed in 2006 the network continued to insist there were no problems and continued to sell handsets on a network that didnt provide the expected coverage it advertised, they continued to tell customers the faults were with their handsets and charged the customer to repair them to obvious provide not improvement to the service. They have recently replaced the satellite system but still advertise only providing coverage 80% of the time to areas of Australia.
  • Ericson r290 - a reasonable phone for the time but hasnt been in production since 1999.
  • Tellit Sat550 - an ok phone but well past its prime.
  • Qualcom GSP 1600 - was a good phone when the satellite system was operational. unsure how it goes on the new satellites.
  • Qualcom GSP 1700 - current model globalstar - due to the past failings of the satellite system we have no intention of doing business with this company so dont know how this handset performs.

Thuraya - Good satellite system used throughout Asia that has expanded into Australia. the network is fine in the northern half of australia but signal can fade a little to the south. The network also has issues with its distribution network in australia after it initially signed a sole distributership with Optus but eventually allowed another network  to come in that eventually went bust, so many handsets are locked to a specific network if purchasing ensure you are able to connect the unit with your desired provider.
  • SO2510 - entry level thuraya from launch into Australia in 2006 - not particularly a good phone.
  • SG2520 - another launch phone offering gsm and satellite service, its a reasonable phone if used in the north of australia in areas with no obstruction.
  • XT - current model - this is a good phone but is still let down a little by the network its attached to.
  • XT Dual - current model - not tested but expect it to be as good as the standard XT but with gsm capabilities. still using an average satellite system.

I Hope this guide has helped you find the best handset for your requirements.

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