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April 01, 2014

How To Make Cheap Phone Calls to Satellite Phones

We recently wrote a blog post about the cost to call a satellite phone from a cellphone

Since those prices (around the $13 a minute) are exorbitant by any measure, we decided to put together a follow-up post about how to make cheap phone calls to satellite phones. 

So whether you are a satellite phone user and want to tell family, friends, or colleagues how they can save money if they call you, or if you are one of those family, friends or colleagues who need to call a satellite phone - here are the best ways to save money when calling satellite phones. 

Globalstar Incoming Satellite phone callsOptions for Globalstar Users

While Globalstar doesn't have global coverage, without a doubt it provides the least expensive way to get ahold of your satellite-phone-toting family member. 

This is because, for US customers, Globalstar assigns a US phone number for their satellite phones sold in the US. Calling this phone number is just like calling any other number in the US - most likely free or very inexpensive depending on your phone plan. 

Globalstar users: to make sure your own costs stay down, be sure to check out the Roaming Calculator Tool and the Long Distance Calculator tool to insure that your costs stay to a minimum.  

Iridium Satellite PhonesOptions for Iridium Users

There are a couple of different ways to cut down on the costs for calling an Iridium satellite phone. 

Two-Stage Dialing

If cousin Billy Bob is using his Iridium satellite phone to climb Mt. Everest, you can get ahold of him for free by calling Iridium's ground station in Arizona (which may incur long-distance charges for you if you don't have free long-distance and/or are not located in Tempe, AZ). When you call this number, you will be asked to enter in the satellite phone number for Billy Bob. You will then be connected to Billy Bob for free...for you. 

Billy Bob, however, will pay for that incoming call at whatever rate he's paying for airtime (generally in the realm of $1.44 a minute). 

+1 Access for Iridium Phones

+1 Access is a good solution for people who need to make frequent, routine calls to satellite phone users with postpaid accounts. Many commercial vessels and government agencies set this up. With +1 Access you receive your own unique U.S. telephone number linked to your satphone 8816 number.

+1 Access allows callers to dial the satellite phone directly without the need to navigate through the English language voice prompts of the two-stage dialing process. In addition, the caller pays only the prevailing rate charged by their carrier for the call to a U.S. phone number.

For +1 Access, you pay $15 a month to maintain the US phone number linked to your satellite phone. The satellite phone user then pays $1.49 a minute for all incoming calls from a PSTN phone (other kind of calls may incur additional fees).  

SatCollectOptions for All Satellite Phone Users

Because Inmarsat does not offer anything like the +1 Access that Iridium does for its postpaid lines, there isn't an Inmarsat-specific option for setting up a non-satellite phone number to call. 

But there is a great option for Inmarsat users, and all satellite phone users: SatCollect

SatCollect works very similarly to Iridium's +1 Access service - you get assigned a land-based phone number that you can give out to family and friends who can then call that number for free or for very inexpensively.

You pay a low monthly fee for maintaining the line and then pay for incoming calls to the satellite phone (generally around $1.49 a minute). 

There are a couple of nice perks about this service though. 

Perk 01 - You Aren't Limited to a US-Based Phone Number

Have a bunch of family back in the UK who doesn't want to pay long-distance fees to call a US phone number to get ahold of you? (Who can blame them?) You can assign a phone number from over 50 countries to connect to your satellite phone. You are not limited to a US-based number. 

Perk 02 - Low Monthly Fee

The monthly fee for maintaining the land-based number is $9.99 a month. 

Perk 03 - You or Mom Can Set It Up

What we mean by this is that you, a satellite phone user, can set this up, pay the $9.99 a month, and then pay for incoming calls. Or, your mom (or spouse, or office, etc) can set up the line, pay the $9.99, and pay for the calls they make to you (the satellite user). This is nice because a corporate business can set up this account to keep in contact with you, O intrepid satellite user, while you're on vacation without you needing to pay for their calls to you. 

XGate satellite email service

What is the Cheapest Option for Getting In Touch with a Satellite Phone User?

Email. For everyone involved, this is the best option for keeping in touch over satellite. Check out XGate satellite email service to learn more. 



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