You have decided to purchase a satellite phone for travel to remote areas or as an emergency backup in case of natural or man-made disasters.
How do you pick a rate plan?
First you have to pick a satellite phone provider and select a Satellite Phone plan.
(You can also read our article on Comparing Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones)
Satellite Phone Plans
There are two types of satellite phone plans, prepaid and postpaid and are very similar to their cellular counterparts. For Prepaid there is no contract. You buy a SIM card and have it loaded with a certain amount of minutes and when you use them up the phone ceases to work until you ‘reload’ it with more minutes. This is a simple process taking only a few minutes by email or phone to our order department. Prepaid packages are good for varying time frames. Usually the larger the plan the longer the term until expiration, IE a 75 minute plan is only good for 30 days, whereas; a 500 minute plan is good for a year and a 1000 minute plan is good for 2 years. Phone numbers are only saved for 90 days, so if you don’t “reload” it within 90 days after your minutes expire, you’ll have to get a new number.
Post paid plans have a 1 year contract and are a little different by carrier, so we will break them down separately.
Globalstar Satellite Phone Plans
Globalstar does not have prepaid plans currently. Their postpaid plans are much like cellular. You pay a monthly fee for a plan which includes a bundle of minutes and voice mail and it comes with free incoming text messages. Local usage is considered anywhere in the US or Canada including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Roaming charges apply in other areas. During the next generation satellite launch period there are some very aggressively priced airtime bundles.
Iridium Satellite Phone Plans
Iridium has both prepaid and postpaid plans. Prepaid is the same as above, but their postpaid plans come with a flat rate of $36.95 per month and $1.39 per minute almost anywhere in the world. There is free incoming, but the calling party pays from $1.39 to $11.00 per minute to call you. A Plus 1 or Two Stage dialing option is best to keep these charges to a minimum. See our post on Comparing Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones for more details on these options.