Thursday, 16 February 2012

Data Abroad? Why Do I Need a Satellite Phone?

Data is expensive when you use your phone abroad. I usually disable my email before I leave and just use instant messaging to stay in touch. Personal satellite communication has become more affordable. For $1 per minute you can connect your iPhone to the Iridium satellite communication network and get data to your phone.

You can also buy a phone, antenna and a data package from several satellite providers, which you
can use to make phone calls, e-mail and video conferences with anyone from anywhere.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Coverage is the main concern for terrestrial service providers who use land-based, line-of-sight transmitters. The coverage depends on the number of transmitters your phone can connect with. A Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) beams data to and from satellites instead of using a network of land-based transmitters so you can connect to the Internet (and send data) from anywhere in the world.

What Does An International Plan Cover?

International plans are contracts between two terrestrial phone networks and your coverage abroad depends on the infrastructure provided in the host nation. Check the national coverage of the international company that is partnering with your service provider before you go abroad. 

You must also check that your phone can be used abroad because different regions use different frequencies.

How Does Satellite Work?

It works like terrestrial television used to with an
antenna that you need to move around to get the best signal. But unlike terrestrial television, you can attach an antenna to your car so you can connect to the Internet while moving.

When Do I Need a Satellite Phone?

If you're exploring a country or living in a rural area, a satellite phone will help you feel safe and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family.

And, if you are living in a war zone or a politically unstable country a satellite phone will help you connect to emergency services, your government and the people at home if the national communication network is disabled.

You should also check that the country that you are travelling in allows satellite phones. You need permission in India and they are banned in North Korea and Burma.

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