Did I Really Need a Satellite Phone?

April 14, 2020
Categories: Review
Tags: Gear

To have a satellite phone or to not have a satellite phone, that is the question! 

The idea of being able to use a cell phone hundreds of miles from a cell tower always seemed like a good idea. The concept of anyone being able to reach me anywhere in the world - that is a different story! 

However, when running a 24/7 internet type business, I need to be in areas with excellent communication more so than not.  Sitting at home or staying close the city is not ideal.  When the shock of the Corona Virus lockdowns hit our country, and the ensuing panic on the news was displayed, my thoughts were, “what if the cell towers go down and I can’t get in touch with my family.” This last thought is the one that prompted me to get serious about picking up a satellite phone. 

I did my research and settled on the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2, and here is what I found out about these phones in doing my research. There are three main providers that pretty much own the market of satellite phones because, well, they own the satellites! Globalstar, Iridium, and Inmarsat rule the celestial skies when it comes to comms. 

The big question you must ask yourself is where you are going to use the phone – coverage is essential.  

Of all the majors that I researched, all rated low when using the phone in valley’s and canyons, so that was a wash for me. Next, I looked at features, such as text and email capability, and creating a hot spot for my laptop. Ideally, in addition to those features, something that could also had an SOS button that is monitored 24/7. That wish list is the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.

Now I had to look at plans, and I realized there are all sorts of plan providers out there. 

I settled on Blue Cosmo.  Blue Cosmo was great at answering all my questions up front, and they seemed like a straightforward company to give my business. I would recommend them! For transparency, I purchased the phone through Amazon, and it shipped in 2 days. 

Once I received the phone, I went to Blue Cosmo’s website and purchased a plan. Within less than 5 minutes, I had a working satellite phone with 15 minutes of phone time per month. 

Once the phone was all set to go, I did a quick trail ride to test it out to ensure I could rely on it in a time of need. My first impression was excellent. The phone itself, although feeling like a cell phone from 2001, it was easy to hold in my hand, and all the buttons were easily understood. If it had a keyboard, it would be even more straightforward than your typical smartphone. 

My first learning curve was to know to dial 001 before dialing people within the United States. So, remember 001+ your number like you would normally dial. Voices also sounded very compressed and one dimensional. Considering that your voice is bouncing upwards of 32,000 miles into outer space, then back down again, I suppose this should have been expected.

Overall, very pleased that I now have a little extra security blanket with me that will allow me to get out there and still run a business or reach help if I need it.  

Even if you do decide on a model other than the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2, I would recommend Blue Cosmo for all your satellite communication needs as they carry other phones and devices as well. 

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Todd Taylor
Todd is the Founder of Trails Offroad and an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever possible. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, which is true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American west to explore were his reasons behind starting Trails Offroad. On any given day, you can find Todd on an obscure 4x4 trail, curating Trails Offroad guides, or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.

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