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Satellite phones are called by many different names – satellite telephone, satellite phone, satphone, and mobile phone. The only difference between cellular phones and satellite phones is that one uses towers and the other uses satellites that orbit the earth.

There is no better communication solution for those in remote areas than a satellite cell phone. This is especially true if you are in an area where there is no cell coverage. Many satellite phone companies such as AmericanSatellite, for instance, offer great packages and competitive prices that would not make you think twice of getting one, especially when you are located in a remote area or traveling to places with unstable reception.

Different satellite phones have different specs. It can be powerful enough to let you talk around the globe or it can be designed for a specific zone. Today’s satellite phones resemble the earlier cellular phones which were much heavier and bulky.

If you are on a budget why buy a new phone when you can buy a used satellite phone or rent one. But which is better? Read on to find out.

Renting a Satellite Phone

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There is no need to buy one for your short expedition. A satellite cell phone rental is considered one of the most affordable solutions.

Whether you need a satellite phone for a day, a week, or a month there are many different satellite cell phone rental plans to choose from. Short term rentals are perfect for someone heading out into the backcountry on a fishing trip or a hunting trip. It’s also a good option for anyone taking a trip abroad for a short period of time.

If your itinerary has places that you know there is no cell coverage but you want to have some type of communication with the outside world a satellite cell phone rental is a good option. Satellite phone rentals are plentiful and as mentioned previously available with all kinds of rental plans associated with them.

Renting a satellite phone is a much more attractive option than buying one, especially for a short term adventure. It’s different if you live or work in a remote area but it’s a lot of money to buy one when it’s just for a couple of weeks or a month or so.

Globalstar, Iridium, and Inmarsat satellite networks all offer a wide range of rental options while providing international communication at a very affordable price.

Rental programs sometimes even have attractive discounts or deals attached to entice you. The theory is you’ll try and then you will want to buy a winning situation for the dealer.

Many rental programs will offer you free accessories like messaging, voice mail, leather case, upgraded batteries, or an AC travel charger to name just a few. Some even offer you free days if you went a minimum period. So for example, if you rent for two weeks you get three free days.

You can rent a satellite cell phone in North America for as little as $40 a week and $1.75 per minute. How much depends which phone and where you plan to use it.

Buying a Used Satellite Phone

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Buying a used satellite phone is about the same as shopping for a cellular phone and plan. It just costs a lot more. You could say the cost is sky high much like the orbiting satellites that allow you to communicate. It’s a good idea if you’ve done some earlier research and have an idea of what it is different phones have to offer. You’ll be a much wiser shopper that way.

Choose a provider such as Globalstar or Iridium both offer competitive rates and plans and a variety of zones. Discuss with the provider what it is you want from your satellite phone.  Make sure that the service you need is one they offer. Satellite phone plans cost more than cellular and they are not as easy you get tit right the fist time.

Since you are considering used phones you need to make sure there isn’t an existing plan attached that’s in default because they carrier is likely to block the phone from being used until the arrears are paid.

Globalstar, Inmarsat, and Iridium are popular satellite phones. They are certainly available as a used product and that’s where you can save a great deal of money.

Sometimes people buy them and only need them for a short period of time. Others buy them with the full intent of long term use but discover it isn’t what they need or they want a bigger better phone. All of these leave you with the opportunity to buy a used satellite phone for a fraction of what a new phone costs and that’s definitely worth searching for.

You may have to spend a little time looking for that good deal but it’s worth it.  You can check your local paper, perhaps you have a buy-sell type of paper that comes out weekly or bi-weekly, and of course don’t forget about all the online resources.


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Satellite phones use satellites that orbit the earth. They do not depend on cell towers to bounce the signals off of nor do they depend on a variety of networks to provide those towers.

Remember the early days of cell phones? All those dead spots? Or how about those hefty roaming charges? Today there are far few dead spots but there are still roaming fees although they are fewer and lower as more and more networks merge. That said cell coverage is mainly found in heavily populated areas.

That’s where satellite phones differ. They are used in more remote or rural areas and they are good around the globe. They cost a little more initially and the minutes cost a little more but they are much more reliable. So whether you are off on a fishing trip or a hunting trip in the backcountry, doing a safari across the desert, or just planning a trip abroad, getting a satellite cell phone rental is a smart move for peace of mind.