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Cellular versus Satellite Phones - What You Should Know

Cellular phones today are so much more powerful than the ones we had in the past. Nearly all transactions today can be accomplished online through mobile data. In many situations, a cell phone is enough to contact and engage with friends, family, or associates.There are situations, though, where an ordinary mobile device won't cut it, and you have to use a satellite phone. For many people, cell phones and satellite phones are practically interchangeable. However, these two devices transmit signals differently.

How are satellite and cellular phones different?

A cellular phone transmits information through land-based towers. When you make a call or access the wireless internet on a cellular phone, your unit transmits a signal to the closest tower. When you move to a different area, your phone finds the tower nearest to that location and attaches the signal to it instead.This is why calls get dropped or warp on a cell phone; there could be no tower to support the call in the surrounding area, or the tower is far from your location. It could also be possible that the tower could not properly support your call, and you do not have international data roaming while traveling overseas.Meanwhile, satellite phones work a little differently. Instead of land-based towers, they use orbiting satellites to transmit signals. Satellite phones can forward calls to cellular, landline, or other sat phones. Since sat phones transmit signals above the earth, these are useful in places where there are no cell towers, like the middle of the ocean or thickly-forested areas.

What can a satellite phone do?

Cell phones are at an advantage when you consider functionality. Satellite phones are designed especially for telephone calls. Some models have access to the internet and can send and receive text messages, but that is the extent of their features.Satellite phones shine in emergencies, and in assisting people who work in isolated areas. Emergency responders rely on sat phones because when you use satellite signals, you can speak and coordinate with your colleagues even when there is a power outage.

Is a satellite phone affordable?

Cellular phones are affordable. You can purchase a fully-functional cell phone for just $100 with a data plan that allows texting and calling. Since it is relatively easy for telecommunications companies to set up land-based networks, they can keep plans affordably priced.Satellite phones are pricier since sat networks are more complicated to launch and set up. Most people also prefer rental plans for sat phones, since they do not use these often. Take note, though, that the usefulness of satellite phones is incomparable during emergencies. For people who work in far-flung areas, this is one of the best options for maintaining open contact lines.


A cellular phone is a handy smart device for everyday transactions and communication. This is often all you need to complete daily tasks. However, note that satellite phones offer more value when you are in an emergency. When cell towers are down, or if work brings you to remote areas, having a sat phone is an excellent investment.

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