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Satellite Service Buyer's Guide

Buyer's Guide

Hi, Welcome to Satellite Phone Store.

Thanks to technology, the world is flat. Without leaving your bed, you can check the weather on the opposite side of the globe or call a friend in another state. Now, imagine your bed is suspended on the side of a cliff secured by a few carabiners and rope—or you’re waking up in a remote oil field or on assignment at a refugee camp. The fancy smartphone in your pocket is now only good for taking pictures—which you have to wait to share once you get back into cell range.

How can you enjoy the best of both worlds? If you’re an avid rock climber, work in remote areas, or enjoy spending time on the open ocean, you no longer have to sacrifice communication needs. What was once considered specialized gear for the military and secret agents is now available to everyone.

Over the past several years, satellite phones have quietly made giant leaps in accessibility and affordability. For example, did you know some satellite phones now have push-to-talk capabilities, or if you only need a satellite phone for a few days or weeks, you can rent one?

We pride ourselves on offering a full-service solution. We understand this technology can be intimidating for first-timers and those who haven’t purchased a new satellite phone in years. We welcome the opportunity to explain the difference between GEO and LEO satellite technologies, and which will offer better coverage, voice quality, and data speed to suit your needs. As industry experts, we know which companies are planning to shoot more satellites into space and which are building more ground stations. We hope the information below helps narrow your decision and invite you to stop by one of our stores so we can answer any questions you have in person. After all, nobody understands the importance of good communication when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere better than us.


Satellite Phone - Choosing the right phone

Technical Specs

Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Standard Package Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Standard Package Thuraya XT-Lite Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Standard Package Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Standard Package Thuraya XT-Lite Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
Satellite Coverage Global Global Global Global Global Worldwide (no poles) Regional Regional Regional
Data Speeds Mid Mid Mid Mid Mid Mid High High High
Voice Quality Good Good Good Good Good Best Best Best Best
Push-to-Talk
Test Messaging
Size Small Small Medium Large N/A Large Smallest Smallest Small
Durability Toughest Toughest Durable Durable Toughest Toughest Durable Tough Durable
Battery Good Good Good Good Best Best Better Best Good
GPS During talk
Emergency SOS
Send/Receive Email Accessory Accessory Accessory Accessory Accessory GmPRS Accessory
Router Compatibilty
Who’s it for? All-around phone. Reliable, durable, great for emergency needs and remote use. Great for direct talk in remote locations; e.g., emergency responders, oil and gas, race teams, search and rescue, homeland security. A slim and compact global satellite phone that fits the majority of customers' simple voice and sms needs. A no-frills, well-built and easy-to-use phone. A little long in the tooth, but can easily be tossed in a bag for emergency use and basic needs. Connect your smartphone or tablet within an approx. 100-foot radius. Great for anyone who wants to use their current device anywhere. A favorite for maritime users because of its long battery and water resistance. A no-frills talk phone, with the longest-lasting battery. It lacks the data capabilities and durability of the PRO, and also suffers from the same regional coverage limitations A talk phone, with the longest-lasting battery and built-in GPS. However, it does suffer from regional coverage limitations. Very affordable, crystal-clear voice with good regional coverage.
Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Standard Package Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Standard Package Thuraya XT-Lite Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Standard Package Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Standard Package Thuraya XT-Lite Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
Price $1,375.00 $1,489.95 $1,145.00 $1,699.00 $899.00 $999.00 $599.00 $1,199.00 Free w/ plan
Coverage 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Globalpoles 90% 66% 66% Regional
Weight 247g/8.71oz/0.54lbs 247g/8.71oz/0.54lbs 266g/9.38oz/0.59lbs 375g/13.23oz/0.83lbs 295g/10.14oz/0.65lbs 279g/9.84oz/0.62lbs 186g/6.56oz/0.41lbs 212g/7.84oz/0.47lbs 200g/7.05oz/0.44lbs
Dimensions 5.51 x 2.36 x 1.06in 5.51 x 2.36 x 1.06in 5.63 x 2.17 x 1.18in 6.22 x 2.44 x 2.32in 4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25in 6.69 x 2.13 x 1.54in 5.04 x 2.09 x 1.06in 5.04 x 2.09 x 1.06in 5.31 x 2.17 x 1.46in
Battery Life 4 hours talk;
30 hours standby
3.5 hours talk;
30 hours standby
3.1 hours talk;
30 hours standby
3.6 hours talk;
30 hours standby
7 hours talk;
16 hours standby
8 hours talk;
100 hours standby
6 hours talk;
80 hours standby
9 hours talk;
100 hours standby
4 hours talk;
36 hours standby
Display Monochrome Monochrome Monochrome Monochrome Monochrome Color Color Color Color
Durability - Dustproof
- Shock-resistant
- Jet-water resistant
- Dustproof
- Shock-resistant
- Jet-water resistant
- Dustproof
- Shock-resistant
- Jet-water resistant
- Humidity tolenrance up to 95%
- Dust-splash
- Shock-resistant
- Jetwater resistant
- Dust resistant
- Shock-proof
Ingress Protection IP65 IP65 N/A N/A IP65 IP65 N/A IP55 N/A
Web Browsing GmPRS Down/Up. Speed up to 60/15 Kbps
Data Speed 2.4Kbps 2.4Kbps 2.4Kbps 2.4Kbps 2.4Kbps 2.4Kbps N/A 9.6Kbps 9.6Kbps
Text Messaging (SMS)
GPS During talk
Emergency (SOS)
Low-Earth Satellites (LEO)
Geostationary Satellites (GEO)

Who Are These Phones For?

A Quick Breakdown

Iridium Extreme 9575 Satellite Phone

This phone is an all-around, reliable satellite phone, providing 100% global coverage. The phone could have better voice quality, but it features the highest grade of durability and can be relied on when needed; in particular, high-stress environments where GPS tracking is vital and an emergency SOS button might be necessary.

 

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Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone

Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone
Iridium 9575 Push-To-Talk (PTT) Satellite Phone

The push-to-talk function makes this phone a game changer for those on a team in remote areas. The PTT offers all the advantages of the Extreme, with the added benefit of communicating with others directly and without using satellite minutes or data. Future firmware releases will allow the phone to receive missed calls and message alerts while in PTT mode, but today it operates in either PTT or Satellite phone mode. For those on race teams, in the oil and gas industry, or involved in search and rescue operations, the Iridium 9575 PTT is unparalleled.

 

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Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone Standard Package

The 9555 runs on the same satellite network as its Iridium brethren and is an easy-to-use, no-frills, reliable satellite phone with 100% global coverage. If occasional phone calls and text messages are all you need or perhaps you desire the comfort of having an emergency line wherever you go, the 9555 is tough enough and small enough to get the job done. In short, the Iridium 9555 is a fairly reliable phone for everyday use without rugged exterior features like its big brother, the 9575.

 

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Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone

Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone
Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone

This phone was released in 2004 and might seem a little long in the tooth, but it’s durable and gets reliable coverage on the Iridium network. In fact, this might be the simplest phone to use because it lacks options and complexity. It’s slightly big in size but is a reliable USA-made phone and a favorite among U.S. government employees. Caveat: Unlike some other phones, the Iridium 9505a does not have a dedicated emergency SOS button.

 

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Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot

This amazing device provides a satellite connection to your existing Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer, within an approximate 100-foot radius. Up to five devices can be connected simultaneously, allowing you to use your existing devices for voice calls, text messages, emails, weather updates, GPS tracking, photo sharing, posting on social media, emergency alerts, and more through third-party apps.

 

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Iridium GO!

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone
Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Standard Package

This phone offers amazing voice clarity and has the longest-lasting battery in the game. The IsatPhone 2 is as durable as they come, holding up in 95% humidity environments and splash-resistant. To be clear, this phone isn’t waterproof, but it is a popular choice with land prepaid customers and security agencies—or anyone who appreciates good coverage, along with low-cost satellite airtime, equipment, and monthly fees.

 

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Thuraya XT-Lite

This phone is liked by those who don’t want to spend a lot of money but want the security of staying connected with good voice clarity and text messaging. The XT-LITE is small and light, but curbs the data capabilities offered on the XT-PRO. It can connect on over half the globe and offers a solid battery life.

 

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Thuraya XT-LITE Satellite Phone

Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone
Thuraya XT-PRO Satellite Phone

This phone gets respectable coverage, but it is the smallest phone on the market, with good battery life and voice clarity. It’s also a tough phone rated as jet-water resistant, dust-resistant, and shock-proof. The PRO offers email and web browsing through its Geo Mobile Packet Radio Service (GmPRS), offering data speeds up to 60Kbps. The flexibility and mobility of this phone is enjoyed by corporate users and adventurers.

 

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Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone

This phone lacks some coverage, but offers the best data speeds and voice clarity on the market. With the push of a few buttons, you can also receive your longitude and latitude coordinates. Where applicable, a local phone number can be acquired to make calling more affordable for other nearby party members. If your remote conversations demand crystal-clear voice quality for an affordable price, this phone will suit your needs.

 

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Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone

Data Needs

When you’re trying to get some real work done, whether that means sending a spreadsheet or receiving a text, you’ll want to see the data—and that requires connectivity. These Wi-Fi hotspots are indispensable and can be used with your existing smartphones, tablets, and laptops, albeit some require special software that will compress the data for efficiency. With one of these devices, you can stay in communication without a dedicated satellite phone. Better yet, you can text, call, and—depending on the device—use all your favorite smartphone apps.

Let us help you pick the right hotspot for your needs. We want to make sure you get the data you require and don’t spend more than you need. Finally, you can play Angry Birds in the middle of nowhere!


Satellite Hotspots - Choosing the right devices

Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatHub Terminal (AddValue iSavi) Globalstar SAT-FI kit with Magnetic Patch Antenna
Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatHub Terminal (AddValue iSavi) Globalstar SAT-FI kit with Magnetic Patch Antenna
Satellite Coverage Global Worldwide (no poles) Regional
Data Speeds Low High Mid
Software Required Yes Yes Yes
Max Users 1 5 8
Durability Toughest Toughest Tough
Battery Best Good N/A
Who’s it for? Emergency use, low data needs, coverage everywhere. Easy setup, easy to use, high messaging needs, clear voice calls. Stationary location use for groups, group communication, email, messaging, voice calls.

Technical Specs

Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatHub Terminal (AddValue iSavi) Globalstar SAT-FI kit with Magnetic Patch Antenna
Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot Inmarsat IsatHub Terminal (AddValue iSavi) Globalstar SAT-FI kit with Magnetic Patch Antenna
Price $899.00 $1,350.00 $999.00
Coverage 100% Regional Regional
Weight 295g/10.14oz/0.65lbs 850g/29.98oz/1.87lbs N/A
Dimentions 4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25in 7.05 x 6.69 x 1.18in 6.3 x 6.3 x 2.4in
Battery Life 7 hours talk;
16 hours standby
2.5 hours operating N/A
WiFi Range 30 meters/100 feet 30 meters/100 feet 30 meters/100 feet
Ingress Protection IP65 IP65
Data Speed 2.4Kbps 384Kbps 9.6Kbps
Text Messaging (SMS)
GPS
Mobile Apps iOS/Android iOS/Android iOS/Android
Low Earth Satellites (LEO)
Geostationary Satellites (GEO)

Who Are These Hotspots For?

A Quick Breakdown

Iridium GO! Satellite Hotspot

This amazing hotspot device provides a satellite connection to your existing Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer within an approximate 100-foot radius. Up to five devices can be connected simultaneously, allowing you to use your existing devices for voice calls, text messages, emails, weather updates, GPS tracking, photo sharing, posting on social media, emergency alerts, and more through third-party apps.

 

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Iridium GO!

Inmarsat IsatHub
Inmarsat IsatHub Terminal (AddValue iSavi)

The Inmarsat IsatHub offers the best speeds of the bunch. You won’t have to work hard getting that speed either because a signal-strength indicator light will help you locate the best antenna angle for easy setup. Using the IsatHub, you can make high-quality voice calls, and through the iSavi interface, you can browse the web, get weather reports, shoot emails, and more. You can even use your existing text messaging service, such as Apple’s iMessage.

 

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Globalstar SAT-FI kit with Magnetic Patch Antenna

The Sat-Fi is best for groups of up to eight people who want a mounted hotspot—put it in your work truck and go. The geostationary satellites that deliver the signal also deliver great voice quality. You can even transfer incoming calls and send text messages between connected users. With the Sat-Fi, you can also send emails and post to social media. If you get into a bind, it has SOS-alert capability that will send GPS location data to emergency responders.

 

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Globalstar Sat-Fi

Maritime & Land Mobile Data

When selecting a device and service for maritime or mobile land data needs, the choices can be overwhelming. We’ve put together several charts to help highlight the main differences between the data plans and devices so you don’t waste your time browsing DirectTV satellite options for a cruise ship when all you’re looking for is data support for email and weather when fishing a few hundred miles offshore.

When you dig into your research you’ll notice most of the devices include numerical monikers in them, such as 250 or 500. These names essentially represent the capable data speeds and often highlight the main difference between two similar products from the same manufacturer. For quick guid- ance, there are three main considerations (outside of coverage area) when narrowing your choices: the amount of data you need, the speed of your data needs, and the corresponding device to facilitate your use.


Choosing the right devices

Maritime Mobile Data
Cobham Sailor Inmarsat Fleet One Terminal Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal Iridium Pilot Maritime Broadband Terminal - 20m KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT terminal
Cobham Sailor Inmarsat Fleet One Terminal Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal Iridium Pilot Maritime Broadband Terminal - 20m KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT terminal
Satellite Coverage Worldwide (no poles) Worldwide (no poles) Global Worldwide (no poles)
Land/Maritime Maritime Maritime Maritime Maritime
Data Speeds Low Mid Low High
Size Smallest Smaller Small Small
Cost Lowest Low Lower Moderate
Who’s it for? Recreational boater with minimal data needs; wants reliable communication without a lot of hassle or hefty price tag. Large commercial vessels that need tough equipment, reliable communication, and basic internet functionality. Communication needed anywhere in the world. Solid data speeds good for email, navigation, and basic reporting. The most robust device for serious data needs. Great communication and heavy data needs, such as web browsing and file downloads.
Land Mobile Data
AddValue Safari Class 11 Inmarast BGAN Vehicular Land Mobile Terminal (Tan Antenna) Cobham Explorer 325 Thrane Explorer 727 Mobile Inmarsat BGAN Terminal
AddValue Safari Class 11 Inmarast BGAN Vehicular Land Mobile Terminal (Tan Antenna) Cobham Explorer 325 Thrane Explorer 727 Mobile Inmarsat BGAN Terminal
Satellite Coverage Worldwide (no poles) Worldwide (no poles) Worldwide (no poles)
Land/Maritime Land Land Land
Data Speeds Mid Mid Mid
Size Smaller Smallest Small
Cost Low Lowest Moderate
Who’s it for? Easy to mount on vehicles; small footprint; fast data speeds; connects with Wi-Fi devices; great for explorers Easy to mount on vehicles; small footprint; fast data speeds; router functionality. Great for those who want a reliable device for talking. A robust, roof-mounted antenna for commercial users on the go. Four ethernet ports for broadband, making it a great option for media, civil government and other mobile teams in remote areas.
Maritime Mobile Data
Cobham Sailor Inmarsat Fleet One Terminal Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal Iridium Pilot Maritime Broadband Terminal - 20m KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT terminal
Cobham Sailor Inmarsat Fleet One Terminal Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal Iridium Pilot Maritime Broadband Terminal - 20m KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT terminal
Data Network Inmarsat Inmarsat Iridium Mini-VSAT
Standard IP 100Kbps 284Kbps 134Kbps 2Kbps
Streaming IP 100Kbps 128Kbps 128Kbps 128Kbps
Standard Voice 4Kbps 4Kbps
Dimensions (H/W/D) Transceiver (T):
9.09 x 10.94 x 1.61in
Antenna (A):
11.49 x 10.85in
14.17 x 9.84 x 2.64in (T)
14.57 x 15in (A)
22.44 (diameter)
x 9.06 in (H)
14.49 (diameter) x
15.51 (D) x 17.6 in (H)
Ingress Protection IP31 (T)
IP56 (A)
Handset
WIFI
Land Mobile Data
AddValue Safari Class 11 Inmarast BGAN Vehicular Land Mobile Terminal (Tan Antenna) Cobham Explorer 325 Thrane Explorer 727 Mobile Inmarsat BGAN Terminal
AddValue Safari Class 11 Inmarast BGAN Vehicular Land Mobile Terminal (Tan Antenna) Cobham Explorer 325 Thrane Explorer 727 Mobile Inmarsat BGAN Terminal
Data Network Inmarsat Inmarsat Inmarsat
Standard IP 464Kbps 384Kbps 492Kbps
Streaming IP 128Kbps 128Kbps 256Kbps
Standard Voice 4Kbps 4Kbps 4Kbps
Dimensions (H/W/D) 13.39 x 9.96 x 2.42 (T)
9.92 x 4.69 in (A)
1.61 x 9.09 x 10.94 (T)
4.72 x 13.78 in (A)
10.43 x 10.75 x 16.93 (T)
18.78 x 5.98 in (A)
Ingress Protection IP31 (T)
IP56 (A)
IP31 (T)
IP56 (A)
Handset
WIFI

Data Service Plans

* All plans allow for additional talk and texting, but varying rates apply. This can get expensive, so please contact us to find out which plan is best for you.

Inmarsat Fleet One Coastal 5 MB Plan Inmarsat IsatHub Monthly 300 MB Plan Iridium 10 Minute Monthly Plan Inmarsat Fleet Broadband Standard Plan KVH 50MB Metered Plan
Price $49.99/mo $979.99/mo $49.99/mo $359.00/mo $49.00/mo
Data Speed 100Kbps 384Kbps 128Kbps 256Kbps 2Mbps
Talk 5 minutes 0 0 0 0
Text 0 0 0 0 0
Data Usage 5 MB 300 MB 25 MB 50 MB

Who Are These Devices For?

A Quick Breakdown

Water
Cobham Sailor Inmarsat Fleet One Terminal

Cobham Sailor Fleet One Terminal For the casual boater who likes to travel uncomfortably far from shore and desires an emergency line, this is the satellite solution for you. Speeds aren’t blazing and data caps aren’t high, but this device is perfect for getting weather reports and sending a few messages to loved ones on shore to let them know you’ve reeled in a nice seafood dinner.

 

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Cobham Sailor Fleet One Terminal

Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal
Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal

If your “boat” is large enough to stack a few cargo containers, this is the terminal you should be looking at. Designed for commercial vessels, the FB250 can withstand the tough conditions of the open ocean and provide reliable communication and broadband to let the upcoming port know when you’re going to arrive.

 

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Iridium Pilot Maritime Broadband Terminal - 20m

Unless you disappear in the Bermuda Triangle, there’s no place on the ocean this terminal can’t transmit a signal. It has the best coverage on the market and should be considered by those who plan distant stretch- es in the open ocean. The Pilot offers enough data speeds to send and receive emails, chart navigation plans, and keep up to date with other basic information

 

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Iridium Pilot Maritime OpenPort Broadband Terminal - 20m

KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT Terminal
KVH TracPhone V3-IP Maritime VSAT terminal

When the free flow of data is important to you, the KVH TracPhone should be on your radar. This terminal offers the best-in-class data speeds and offers terrific coverage. Web browsing, emailing, messag- ing, and transferring files are all tasks that can easily be handled. A user-friendly iPhone app will compress and cache web pages, and remove ads—along with other non-essentials—so you can get the relevant and necessary information without wasting data on that fishing reel advertisement that has been following you around the web since you left shore.

 

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Land
AddValue Safari Class 11 Inmarast BGAN Vehicular Land Mobile Terminal (Tan Antenna)

Attach the Addvalue Safari to the top of your vehicle and you’re a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot. This terminal is great for those who want to use their laptops, smartphones, and tablets while away from the cellular grid. The antenna has the highest dynamic performance on the market and provides great coverage and data speeds. It plays well with others, too, through its fleet tracking and geofencing capabilities.

 

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Cobham Sailor Fleet One Terminal

Intellian FB250 Fleet Broadband Maritime Internet Terminal
VIASAT EXEDE 75 CM VSAT SATELLITE INTERNET TERMINAL

Consider the Explorer 325 if you’re not looking to run a website from your van, but you are looking for quick and reliable communication. The Explorer 325 does not offer Wi-Fi but includes an IP handset for good voice quality. Freely drive across borders because there are no roaming fees either. This terminal is great for humanitarian operations, cargo transportation, broadcasts, or telemedicine.

 

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Thrane Explorer 727 Mobile Inmarsat BGAN Terminal

The Thrane Explorer 727 is the big brother of the 325, which is to say it’s bigger, faster, and for users with more sophisticated conversation needs. The 727 features four ethernet ports, as opposed to two on the 325, and it can reach streaming speeds that are twice as fast (256Kbps). These broadband speeds are a favorite of media companies, and the handset is favored by commercial users who need solid, reliable communication

 

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Iridium Pilot Maritime OpenPort Broadband Terminal - 20m