Satelite vs Cellular Phones
There are several factors that differentiate
satellite phones from cell phones. How they work, their utility
and cost just to name a few.
Cellular phones or cell phones use small
stations or towers known as ‘cells’ from which
they receive their signals and to which they send signals.
As the user moves from one destination to the next, his call
or his cellular service is passed on from cell to the next.
The mobile handset is thus in continuous connectivity with
the different cells of the network provider and the individual
can talk on the move. This is thus known as mobile connectivity.
Satellite phones on the other hand,
do not use ‘cells’ or towers. They work with satellites
orbiting the Earth. These Low Earth Orbiting or LEO satellites
receive signals from the satellite phone handsets and send
signals to these handsets as required. The satellite phones
send signals to the satellite, which passes it on to a gateway.
The gateway routes the calls to the receiver. Also, all calls
made to the satellite phones are routed via the satellites.
Differences In Area Coverage
Cellular phone companies generally provide
network coverage in densely populated areas. Since the companies
have to set up ‘cells’ to be able to provide coverage,
they need a high number of subscribers to justify setting
up the cell. In thinly populated areas or remote areas with
difficult terrains, the cost of providing coverage is often
more than the expected returns. Hence, while cell phones work
great in densely populated areas, they may or may not work
in inaccessible locations.
Satellite phones communicate with the
LEO satellites and not with any ‘cells’ on Earth.
Hence, the coverage provided by satellite phone companies
is far greater than that provided by cellular phone companies.
Since satellite companies don’t have to set up cells
from destination to destination, they offer service in a wider
area and some even offer it across the globe.
Cell phones have become an absolute
necessity for practically all urban residents. In fact, a
large number of people are opting to have cell phones instead
of the traditional landlines. Cell phones are perfect to use
while on the move in metropolitan cities. For marketing and
sales executives, employees, CEOs, managers, mothers, students
and almost all people in different walks of life - cell phones
provide a high value service. They are also a great option
to surf the net, listen to music and exchange photos. In short,
cell phones have become the single all-purpose media electronic
instrument of the 21st century.
Satellite phones on the other hand,
are perfect for use in remote and thinly populated areas where
cellular companies do not provide network coverage. Satellite
phones are also extremely handy in situations when cellular
networks go down. Such situations generally arise in times
of natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and floods
when the ‘cells’ that route calls are damaged.
Satellite phones have the advantage
in such conditions since natural disasters do not affect the
LEO satellites. Hence while cellular phone networks are down,
satellite phones continue to function as normal. This has
indeed saved many lives in the recent past.
Satellite phones are also the perfect
option for companies that have research laboratories or departments
in isolated areas like Alaska, Siberia and Antartica. Adventurers
who frequently travel to densely populated tropical forests,
high mountain areas and across oceans also prefer the better
coverage provided by satellite phones.
Differences In Cost
As is to be expected, cellular phones
are far cheaper to operate and maintain than satellite phones.
The cellular phone handsets as well as the subscription plans
offered by cellular service providers are extremely affordable
and cost barely a few cents per minute.
Satellite phones on the other hand are
expensive. The satellite phone hand sets or the fixed satellite
phone sets cost a pretty penny as does the satellite phone
service provided by leaders in the industry like Iridium and
Globalstar. At an average satellite phones can cost anything
from $600 to $1000 with costs going up to $1.50 per minute
Thus, cell phones and satellite phones
are both a boon to the world of communication and both service
users in different ways and under differing conditions.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of http://www.my-used-cell-phones.info