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Satellite Cell phones are certainly the most reliable method of
communications anywhere in the world since their "footprint" is
essentially any point visible to a "geosynchronous communications
satellite." The drawback is that they are expensive, and not everyone
has access to them.

The satellite cell phone is definitely the wave of the future when it
comes to mobile communication. Satellite cell phones are mobile
phones that make communication possible through satellites. Signals
from a satellite cell phone first travels to the satellite. From the
satellite, it reaches the earthbound gateway and is then routed to the
receiver. The receiverís response signal also traces the same path in
reverse. Thus, satellite cell phones usually take more time to make
a call. The main advantage of a satellite cell phone is that it can be
used for communication anywhere on earth. Satellite cell phones
provide communication on land, water and air.

These phones debuted a few years back, and many people did not
take them seriously. When these phones first came out, they lacked
the range and roaming capabilities of the traditional cell phone that
got its feed from local towers. The problem was most cell phone
companies were supplying signal via nationwide towers, whereas a
satellite cell phone was working off of a single satellite. This
presented many problems as far as a quality signal was concerned.
The first people to have a satellite cell phone complained about the
quality of the calls. But the disadvantages of satellite phones are
irrelevant when their special features are considered. A satellite cell
phone is ideal for those who live in places where no cellular
broadcasting towers are available. These cell phones are ideal for
researchers, lovers of adventure and people in the armed forces.
Satellite phones can be used to provide backup communication in
disasters when there is a problem with landlines or cellular towers.

If you fast forward a couple of years, it looks like all cell phones are
moving in the direction of satellites. Eventually a satellite cell phone
will be able to provide the user with a signal regardless of where
they are in the entire world. This is due in part because they will be
using a satellite in the sky, as opposed to a tower on the ground.
With the current set up, if you are not within the appropriate distance
of a network tower, you cannot get the signal needed for service. As
more and more satellites are being launched by service providers,
the need for a satellite cell phone is going to increase.

Iridium, Globalstar and Thuraya are the main satellite networks
available. Iridium satellite network uses low orbiting satellites. This
minimizes conversational delays. Among the satellite networks, only
iridium provides coverage over the entire earth, including oceans.
Globalstar satellite network covers only 80% of the land masses on
earth. It does not cover the northern and southern polar regions.

A satellite cell phone is also able to have more features than a
standard set up. One feature that is coming into its own is the ability
of the cell phone to pick up satellite radio. This is going to be a huge
selling tool for service providers in the next few years. In addition to
being able to play MP3s, a satellite cell phone will also be able to get
the signal for XM or Sirius radio.

Satellite phones are normally priced according to the network
coverage area. Because of the large coverage area, iridium is more
expensive than others. It is better to rent a satellite phone for use
on rare occasions. To buy a satellite phone, users need prepaid cards
or a contract with the satellite network. Some satellite networks,
combined with cellular GSM (Global System for Mobile) networks,
provide Internet and email through satellite phones. They also offer
GSM roaming. Thus, the satellite phone customer can use GSM
networks together with satellite calls.

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