A satellite phone is a mobile phone that gets its connection from satellites orbiting the earth as opposed to regular mobile phones that get their connection from terrestrial cell locations. Based on how an individual system has been designed, a satellite phone may be able to cover the whole world or just specific locations or regions that have been mapped to it. Many people prefer using satellite phones in regions where mobile telephony is not advanced and satellite phones that work world wide come in very handy in such situations. Regardless of the location where one is calling from or calling to, the satellite phones will provide a means of communication, getting its connectivity directly from satellites that orbit the earth. The satellite phone is sometimes referred to as terminal and may vary in terms of weight and size. Recent phones have been designed to look almost like the standard mobile phones and they are therefore easier to carry around. However, most satellite phones come with an external antenna, which is more often than not retractable, and this feature makes the phone reception clearer and hence communication is better.
Satellite phones that work world wide will need proper installation in order to ensure that they work as expected. The installation process has to be done by a qualified technician and will include a microwave antenna attached to a mast that will track all overhead satellites and ensure that the phone gets coverage regardless of location. If the service is not required for many long distance conversations, owners can get smaller installations that do not require the long masts and they can simply use the VoIP option, which is actually cheaper. The biggest disadvantage of using the internet for satellite phone service is that the reception is only good enough if the person using the phone is either outside or near a window or high building. For this reason, most people who make constant long distance calls using their satellite phones prefer not to use the internet.
Although satellite phone service is mainly used by tourists and researchers, it has become a cheaper option even for people who live in mountainous or forest regions where mobile phone services are not very reliable. This makes it easier for people to communicate with others without necessarily having to use a landline. Satellite phones that work world wide are also popular among game rangers and adventurers who cannot use any other form of communication when they are in the jungles. In addition, they can be used by marine workers who are out at sea to communicate with officials on land because mobile telephone services are non-existent over large water bodies. However, some regions have declared the use of satellite phones illegal in an effort to minimize attempts of wiretapping. This makes it impossible for people to make or receive calls via satellite connections to and from that region. Other regions such as Australia have made the use of satellite phone even easier by allowing residents to apply for subsidies and get their satellite phones at reduced prices.