With unbeatable coverage, the network itself is one the most reliable, if not the most reliable, in the world.
When it comes to Australian coverage, the Iridium network has the most satellites constantly rotating the earth, giving the best coverage for outdoors. Where, as some satellites are static and only stay in the one position (e.g. Thuraya Network), the Iridium are constantly circumventing the earth. This uniqueness, ensures that even if you are stuck in a ravine somewhere with no Satellite Coverage one minute, there is a strong possibly, provided your sat phone can “see” some blue sky above it, that you will get a small amount of reception, potentially enough to send off that SOS for help if you need it.
Now let’s look at the Iridium phones, and we are going to use a common Australian car manufacturer, Toyota, to help us understand the two main Iridium models. Like a lot of market segments, there is generally a preferred option, albeit slightly more expensive, the preferred option or brand, generally has a better reputation for quality, safety, looks etc. When it comes to Satellite Phones, the Iridium is generally this brand, and the 9555 and the 9575 are the two models of this brand that are the preferred industry standard.
The 9555 is the “Prado” cheaper version with minimal specs, but still a reliable contender, however the 9575 is the Landcruiser LC200 of this brand, which has all the safety critical and performance extras. For our rentals we chose the Iridium 9575.
Why you ask?
The 9575 has all the fruit. Durable, drop, dust (IP65) and jet water-resistant casing, a GPS Position function, an SOS button (via the GEOS network), and standard features such as call and text messaging which the 9555 has also.
So when I’m considering my own needs when I go bush, I want something that can have:
a) network coverage when I need it (e.g. when I get myself into trouble or need to check in with work or loved ones),
b) ability to seek help with the push of a button which sends my GPS location automatically (SOS) to a 24/7 emergency monitoring network; and
c) has ability to drop a pin and send this to someone (GPS positioning) for those “non critical” emergencies, or family / workplace tracking.
So, for my Nomad Outback Hire clients, I would expect to supply no less that what I would consider, minimum safety standards. Hence, we chose the Iridium 9575.