Rental FAQ


Do you offer FREE incoming calls?

Many competitors will list “Free Incoming Calls” on Iridium phones. Unfortunately, this is a misleading statement. Iridium phones operate on a “calling party pays” system. This means the person calling TO this satellite phone will incur an international long distance charge that includes Iridium airtime. These charges average $4.00 to $7.00 a minute but may be higher depending on the long distance provider used. It is not possible to avoid these charges with international calling cards or discount programs. This may be a benefit for some satellite phone users who prefer for the person calling them to incur the costs of these calls. However, since this incoming rate that the calling party pays is significantly higher than the rate for outgoing calls, this is not the best option for everyone.

SatellitePhone.com provides an unique U.S. phone number on Iridium rentals.  Provide callers with your U.S. number to prevent them from being billed for the call or provide callers with your 12-digit Iridium Satellite number to prevent the call from being billed to your satellite phone.  The choice is yours!

 

Once my rental begins, can I extend it at the same rental rates?

Unfortunately, once your rental reservation is placed, it cannot be extended at standard reservation rates.  Doing so would prevent us from efficiently scheduling our reservations and managing our inventory.  Rental reservation extension rates are listed at the bottom of the rental pricing page.

 

Why are rental extension rates higher than standard reservation rates?

Rental extension rates, or late fees, are higher than advance reservation rates because we book reservations back-to-back in order to maximize inventory efficiency and keep our prices low.  Therefore, rentals that are returned after their expected dates negatively affect the next rental customer.  This increases our rental costs as we have to shift reservations, upgrade customers at no cost or convert new inventory to rental inventory to accommodate these affected customers.  Also, please keep in mind that our rental extension rates are based off of our standard rates rather than periodic promotional pricing which may be substantially lower.

 

What type of coverage and sound quality can I expect from a satellite phone?

Iridium provides global voice, SMS, and data service which includes all land masses, bodies of water and the polar caps. The only exceptions are countries that have requested that Iridium voluntarily block its service within all or parts of their borders (North Korea and sometimes northern Sri Lanka do not have service). Iridium operates a large number of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites spanning the globe in various polar orbits.

Since Iridium phones use L-band frequencies so you must be in direct line-of-sight with an Iridium satellite in order make a call. The ideal situation is to be on flat terrain away from obstructions that block more than 15 degrees of elevation above the horizon. Buildings, mountains, canyon walls, trees and other obstructions may block some or all of the satellites causing brief periods without service. In most circumstances, inclement weather or cloud cover will not dramatically reduce service levels. When a call is made to a landline or cell phone, it is transmitted to a public switched telephone number (PSTN). The call is relayed from satellite to satellite until it reaches the Iridium gateway in Arizona. From there it is routed to the final PSTN number. If during your call, the satellite moves behind an obstruction such as a mountain peak, your call can be handed-off to a different satellite. Occasionally, the call is unexpectedly terminated and will have to be reconnected. Since the Iridium satellites are always moving, if the signal is lost another satellite should be quickly available. It is best to wait until the phone reads three bars on the signal strength indicator before dialing again. Due to Iridium's voice compression, voice quality is fair and a delay and echo will usually be noticeable.