Depending on the location of your island you may not be able to get cell phone reception and land lines may not be available in the area. Therefore in order to stay in contact with the outside world you may want to use a Satellite Phone. Unlike cellular phones that rely on cell towers for signal transmission, satellite telephones or “Satphones” use Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites for transmission. When you turn on your satellite phone and make a call the signal goes to the orbiting satellites where it is directed by the gateway to the call destination. The call can be directed to either a land line or a cellular network. The reverse of this process is also true in that a land line or cellular phone can also call your satellite phone on your island. This process allows you to use your phone even when you are on a remote island far from a cell phone tower.
While there is some variation in systems most satellite phones will work anywhere on the planet. Modern satellite phones resemble the cell phones of the 1980’s and will most likely continue to shrink in size. Satellite phones have large antennas that protrude from the phone in order to provide the necessary reception. Reception on satellite phones is general good but may vary depending on your location. The more unobstructed the sky is the better your signal will be. Solar flares and dwellings tends to be the biggest obstructions.
Satellite phones are more expensive than cellular phones. There are essentially three options available when obtaining a satellite phone, you can lease, rent or purchase. Charges typically start at $50 a month and there are often additional charges based on the number of minutes you use. Calls to land line phones typically cost between 80 cents and $1.50 per minute. Much like cell phone companies, all major satellite phone companies have pre paid plans with vouchers ranging from $10 to $5,000.