|The Iridium satellite network is the only satellite phone network that covers the globe completely. It is a system of 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites which provide real pole to pole coverage for the Iridium network.|
Iridium uses high compression rates for its audio and data transfer services and because of this the audio quality is somewhat worse than that of competetive providers such as Globalstar or Thuraya. But in comparison to Globalstar, Iridium suffers from dropped call and service availability problems to a far smaller extent.
Iridium offers data transers through it’s devices, but data download rates for Iridium users are quite slow (usually around 2Kbps) making any heavy data downloads or uploads practically impossible.
There have been a few handheld phones available for Iridium subscribers. The oldest is the Kyocera SS-66K (discontinued). The latest phone supplied by Iridium is the Iridium 9555. It was introduced as a replacement for the Motorola 9500, 9505 and 9505a models. The Iridium 9555 is slightly smaller and lighter than the Iridium 9505a.
Iridium phone call cost vary. Nonetheless, they are usually higher than those of the competition. Costs range from $1.50 to over $10 per minut depending on the current plan of the subscriber and type of call that is being made.