A common mistake many users make is trying to use the satellite connected device indoors, under structures or generally obscured by physical objects. Many casual users are used to mobile devices such as phones that will work in most areas, and may not instinctively understand the need to have a clear line of sight to the sky, especially for users of sat phones. Generally, satellite connected devices will not work under roofed buildings, or any other solid structure that is not sufficiently “radio transparent” – meaning radio waves cannot easily pass through them. Material such as concrete, sandbags, metal rebar, and other common building components can interfere with and block radio waves all together. Satellite connected devices might be able to work under some materials, such as tent material or plastic tarpaulin, however users will need to be aware that this still may not work in all cases.
Mobiles Mobile satellite communications providers offer a wide range of accessories that assist and enable the usage of the phones and data terminals. These might include:
- Extension cables – to mount some devices on roofs or above tree lines.
- External antennas – to increase signal and broadcast strength.
- Docking stations – to permanently power or mount some devices like sat phones.
- Self-orienting options – devices that can auto detect and point data terminals while in motion.
Due to the fact satellite satellites provide telephony is never actually tied to a specific country, satellite communications providers have been provided their own “country code.” Calling a satellite phone from an outside network required dialling the full country code prior to the satellite phone number. The calling codes for each provider are:
The majority of satellite communications devices and plans are sold through resellers – other companies specialised in local laws and local markets. Different resellers can negotiate with the primary networks to offer a variety of different plans to end users. These plans may include:
- Pay as you go – plans that only bill as they are used – especially useful for emergency responders.
- Monthly – payment for all devices made monthly, with either fixed rates or flat fees.
- Pre-paid – plans with predefined limits that will only work up until the dollar value paid in advance.