Handheld Satellite Telephone

Extensive coverage

May need different systems in different parts of the world. Focus here is on North American waters

Can be expensive, especially if used for Internet services other than email

Different physical installations

Remember that the antenna needs to be in line of sight of the satellite

Some satellite telephones have a built-in antenna, which makes them larger than a comparable pure cellular phone.

Others put a weatherized antenna on the vessel and cable handsets (or data when used to it)

Recognized services


Will try to use cheaper cellular radio before satellite

Basic speeds are 9.6 to 38.6 Kbps, with caching and acceleration software available

Direct firewalled Internet access


In North American waters, has three systems of differing capability, Fleet 77, 55 and 33.  They differ in data rate (i.e., 128 Kbps, 64 Kbps, and 9.6Kbps respectively) and the way data transmission is charged. All support voice and fax.