Iridium Tops Inmarsat In Satellite Phone Evaluation

An evaluation of two satellite phones concluded the Iridium 9555 is superior to the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro.

The testing and analysis were conducted by Frost & Sullivan, an international research and consulting firm that works with each of the satellite phone manufacturers as clients.

“Frost & Sullivan recommends that heavy users of satellite phones and first responders who rely on satellite phones for emergency communications select the Iridium phone and service,” said James Brehm, Frost & Sullivan senior consultant and project leader. “We believe that Iridium is a proven and reliable service that works well in all locations and, therefore, justifies the added premium for the hardware and service.”

He said Frost & Sullivan found it valuable to compare the features and performance of the latest industry model, Inmarsat’s IsatPhone Pro, with those of the market leader and industry standard, the Iridium 9555 satellite phone. The company also compared Iridium’s network of 66 low-Earth orbit satellites to that of Inmarsat’s constellation of three geosynchronous orbit satellites. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted.

For the qualitative analysis, the following phone features were evaluated: size and weight; keyboard and display; antenna; battery use and charge life; battery charger; construction and overall feel.

For the quantitative section of the analysis, test locations were selected to understand variations in performance. They included Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Fort McMurray, Canada.

Testing found the Iridium 9555 was superior in all locations. Iridium’s satellite network offered better coverage, including the ability to use a satellite phone in Anchorage, Alaska, where the Inmarsat phone was inoperable, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The Iridium phone provided better call quality and more speed in finding the satellite network and making a call, Frost & Sullivan said. The Iridium phone made it possible to receive an incoming call with the antenna down – something the Inmarsat phone could not do. In addition, Frost & Sullivan said, the Iridium phone could be used as a modem for a laptop for e-mail or Web access. However, the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro was less expensive than the Iridium 9555 and had lower per-minute usage charges.

Frost & Sullivan said anyone interested in receiving a copy of the satellite phone comparison report should send an e-mail to Jake Wengroff, the company’s global director of corporate communications, at jake.wengroff@frost.com with the following information: your full name, company name, title, company telephone number, company e-mail address, city, state, and country.

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