Extreme Weather has challenged the power and telecommunications infrastructure in the Western Pacific, As we found out in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) last year, if our cell phone towers or undersea cables are severed during a natural disaster, the connecting network between our isolated islands in Micronesia and the rest of the world is at risk of failure. One tool that can utilized in preparation of such an emergency is the satellite phone.
Satellite phones rely on a network of satellites that are either fixed above the Equator (Geostationary), or in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) anywhere from 500 to 1,000 miles above the surface of the Earth. These phones are rarely affected by violent storms and, depending upon their system architecture, work virtually anywhere in the world. Their compact design is familiar to many of us and very similar to that of the cell phone in our bags and purses.
For years, the traditional sat phone buyer and user has been the government, public safety agencies, shippers and energy companies. That is changing. Private individuals are securing the use of sat phones so they do not lose their capability to communicate with the rest of the world. Why get one?
With its origins dating back to 1965, the launch 20 years ago of the first low earth orbit satellite network by Motorola and today about 66 satellites crisscrossing the globe on a continual basis via the now thriving Iridium, sat phone options are better and allow us to communicate via this technology more than ever.
A March 2013 article in Forbes Magazine noted that if you purchase a sat-phone, expect to spend between $600 and $1700, depending upon the network. All of the phones are lightweight, small, and replicate the functionality of your cellular telephone. Some have Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities so you can use a remote headset, and wirelessly connect your computer for data access.
Today, there are options-even the use of sat phones with U.S. based SIM cards that are available for lease.
All satellite phones have a number of common characteristics that you need to be aware of in order to select the one that will work the best for you. The most important point to understand is that sat-phones are not cell phones, and they work on an entirely different network architecture and radio propagation characteristics. There are certain inherent limitations as to how they operate, and where.
Satellite phones help save lives, provide communications during natural disasters, and link users with the outside world when terrestrial-based networks fail. Cellular networks can be fragile and can be unavailable for a variety of reasons. Satellite networks rarely if ever are out of service, which means that if you have a satellite phone, you are almost guaranteed a connection with emergency services, business, government agencies, friends and family.
They are, in my view, inexpensive communications insurance.
To find out more about how GET, LLC, through our Iridium satellite phone partner at Range Global Services, LLC, can help your satellite phone needs, give us a call at 671-483-0789 or our website at www.get-guam.com for more information.