Understanding The Basics Of Satellite Phone Airtime

What is Satellite Phone Airtime and Why is it Necessary?

Satellite phone airtime is the term used to describe the minutes, data, or messages used when making a call, sending a message, or accessing the internet when using a satellite phone. Unlike traditional cell phones, which rely on terrestrial networks to transmit calls and data, satellite phones use a network of orbiting satellites to provide coverage even in remote or isolated locations where traditional networks may not be available.

It is necessary because it allows users to connect to the satellite network and access the services provided by their satellite phone. Without airtime, a satellite phone would not be able to connect to the network, and users would not be able to make calls, send messages, or access the internet.

Different Types of Satellite Phone Airtime

At OSAT, we offer two main types of airtime: prepaid data and monthly contracts.

Prepaid airtime is comprised of what we refer to as ‘vouchers’. They are essentially data/minute packages that are loaded onto your device at the point of purchase, and you only use what you pay for. Once you have used up the voucher or vouchers you paid for, you will need to buy more. It works in the same way as pay-as-you-go cards on cell phones.

Monthly contracts are exactly as they sound: a contract that you sign up to which rolls over every month, giving you peace of mind that you will have a full compliment of data e.g. 10GB at the start of every monthly period.

How to Choose the Right Satellite Phone Airtime Plan

Choosing what kind of airtime is best for you very much depends on the length of time you will need it for. We strongly recommend prepaid minutes for short-to-medium-term usage periods i.e. 1-2 months. This is so that you don’t get tied into a long-term contract and pay more than you would expect at the end of your monthly period. Prepaid minutes give you a lot more control over your usage, and you always know how much you have spent.

A monthly contract is great for someone travelling away for an extended period of time e.g. over one year. You won’t have to worry about topping up at random points of your trip; just leave the contract to roll over and refill your data allowance. A monthly contract will likely work out as a more cost-effective solution as well.

Features and Pricing of Airtime

We offer airtime packages from all four of the major satellite network providers. Each of them are unique and apply only to their relevant products e.g. the Iridium Extreme satellite phone can only use Iridium airtime.

Iridium airtime is of the more expensive, however, because Iridium is truly global. You can use an Iridium device anywhere on the planet, even in polar regions.

Inmarsat airtime comes with a host of different options in terms of minute and data bundles. Some of them last for months, and Inmarsat devices can be used on a near global scale.

Thuraya airtime is the least expensive on average but their coverage is among the most limited, only covering EMEA and APAC regions. We would not recommend using a Thuraya device anywhere in the Americas.

Globalstar airtime is again quite limited but some of their satellite phone vouchers have quite lengthy validity periods. You can use a Globalstar satellite phone for up to a year if you buy the relevant voucher option.

Which is the Right Choice for You?

Deciding which airtime option is right for you very much depends on the following things:

  • Your budget
  • Your length of usage
  • Your device type
  • Your estimated frequency of use

As always, our team of experts at OSAT is here to help. So, if you need any advice about satellite phone airtime, contact us via:

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