Cellphones versus Sat Phones: Discerning These Gadgets


Working in an area with barely any reception is a hassle, primarily since everyone heavily relies on a stable connection these days. That’s why having a reliable phone is a must, especially when you’re working in remote areas.

Sat phones rely on a series of satellites. These are above the equatorial region or in the Low Earth Orbit, between 500 and 1,000 miles above the Earth’s atmosphere.

Sat phones often have the same size as a regular phone but weigh a few more ounces. ZDNet also says that it’s possible to convert your smartphone into a sat phone, too. So, what makes a cellphone different from a sat phone?


Unlike smartphones, sat phones have external antennas to get the best reception. Forbes says that this feature allows them to extend their functions when receiving and making calls. But since it uses frequency differently, your sat phone won’t work if you retract the antennas. It means that you can’t receive or send any phone calls if it’s inside your back pocket.

Phone numbers 

Sat phones primarily have dedicated international phone numbers assigned to each device. Yet, some sat phones like Globalstar uses the U.S. and Canadian phone numbers for their devices. Meanwhile, most companies use Direct Inward Dial capability on their gadgets. It means that anyone can use a U.S. phone number when calling others. It’s entirely different from a cellphone. That’s because cellphones only provide you with local phone numbers for each sim.

Price per call 

Compared to cellphones, calls to sat phones can be costly from the public network. It can even be as high as $10 per minute, depending on your price plan and the carrier. But if you want to receive phone calls from your sat phone, make sure you choose a satellite carrier with a Direct Inward Dial feature. Using a phone with this feature will help you connect better.

Signal coverage

Although many sat carriers provide their customers with global reception, it’s not always perfect. There will be times when an area has dead spots, which can affect your reception. Like foliage and high buildings, a few factors can act as obstructions when getting internet and cellular service.

Voice quality

The audio quality in almost every sat phone is not as good compared to regular cellphones. That’s because sat phones have a limited bandwidth capability to improve its power requirements. There will also be times when there will be latency and delay issues when making and receiving calls.

Email and text

Both cellphones and sat phones can send and receive emails and text messages, depending on the service. It even works better if you have satellite internet for camping, too.

These are only a couple of things that you need to know about cellphones and sat phones. Both devices are an excellent means of communication. However, it’s crucial to remember that sat phones are different from cellphones. That’s because they rely on different radio propagation and network architecture. So both devices can be useful, depending on your location and the setting that you’re in.



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