Iridium Satellite Phones
Iridium is one of the global satellite phone service providers. In addition to being the name of the company, Iridium is also the name of the constellation of satellites which the company launched and which act as the mirror bouncing phone signals from place to place around the globe. There are actually 66 satellites in the constellation, and the company’s logo even resembles the “big dipper.” Iridium’s main competition comes from Globalstar.
One of the global satellite phone service providers, Iridium is used today by the U.S. Department of Defense as well as private citizens. The phones themselves are primarily made by Motorola, although there are some older models by Kyocera which are available second-hand. People who travel frequently often find that buying their own Iridium satellite phone is the best choice, but infrequent travelers or those who are only beyond the reach of cell phones a few times a year have the option of choosing an Iridium satellite phone rental instead. Those who rent satellite phones will get the newer Motorola phone models with their rental phone.
Along with your Iridium satellite phone rental you will also need to purchase prepaid calling time, without which you will not be able to use your phone. Should you run out of the time which you bought in advance, you can always call from your Iridium rental phone in order to buy additional calling time.
Iridium has a couple of country codes which are specific to its phones, but more recently has allowed its regular subscribers to choose to have a regular U.S. telephone number with a normal area code and a +1 country code.
While Iridium did not even last a year without going into bankruptcy the first time around, the company restarted a couple years later under new management and is steadily gaining subscribers. The original company’s financial woes were due primarily to not getting enough regular subscribers to offset the extremely high costs of launching the satellites and the service in the first place. But since the satellites remained in orbit even after the bankruptcy, the new owners did not have to put out as much money up front and stand a better chance of success.