Comparing Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones

Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones – Advantages and Disadvantages

We often get questions about the right satellite phone to buy.  The two main products Globalstar phones and Iridium phones have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Below is a list of Globalstar phones advantages and disadvantages.

Globalstar Phones: Advantages

  1. Equipment Price: Portables from $499.99. Base stations just $749.00
  2. Airtime price: Temporarily just $29.99 per month and .99 per minute OR $39.99 per month for unlimited use to US, Canada, the eastern Caribbean and Puerto Rico and has free text messaging.
  3. Globalstar phones use a conventional 10 digit US phone number.
  4. The first 18 next generation satellites launched  in 2010 and 2011. The remaining 6 satellites will be launched in early 2012 with 100% coverage expected by late summer of 2012. Capability of data speeds up to 256K. Lots of new features in next generation phones.

Globalstar Phones: Disadvantages

  1. Globalstar started to experience premature satellite failures in 2007 and launched 8 emergency satellites in 2008. Currently the system is “up” around 65% of the time, meaning 35% of the time you would have to wait until a functioning satellite is available. Go to to see satellite availability.
  2. Not as much coverage worldwide as Iridium. Little coverage in China and Southern Africa and none at the North or South Poles.

Iridium Phones: Advantages

  1. Satellites are available 98% of the time. Almost no waiting to process a call.
  2. Coverage better than Globalstar phones. Works in most areas of the world.
  3. Portables are more expensive than Globalstar, but can work with an included magnetic mount antenna. Globalstar requires a car kit or transportable option for in vehicle use.

Iridium Phones: Disadvantages

  1. Equipment cost 2-3 times the cost of Globalstar
  2. Airtime is $36.99 per month and $1.39 per minute. Iridium uses an international phone number so inbound calls could cost the calling party $10.-12.00 per month without going through a 2 stage dialing process requiring 22 digits. An alternative is to pay $8.95 per month additional for 1 plus dialing giving you a conventional phone number.
  3. Iridium’s system is over 12 years old and is projected to start failing in 2014. They lost 1 satellite about 6 months ago due to a collision with a Russian satellite. They will need to raise approximately 1 billion in the next few years to replace the system.

If you are looking for a satellite phone solution, please give us a call and we can help you pick from the best Globalstar phones or Iridium phone models.

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