Frequently Asked Questions


Are incoming calls Free?

Many competitors will list “Free Incoming Calls” on Iridium phones. Unfortunately, this is a misleading statement. Iridium phones operate on a “calling party pays” system. This means the person calling TO this satellite phone will incur an international long distance charge that includes Iridium airtime.

A Direct call is 011 8816-xxxx-xxxx This call is FREE to the person with the Iridium phone BUT the person calling the phone will be paying a International cost depending on what there phone provider charges.

The Iridium satellite services comes with an INTERNATIONAL phone number. The person directly dialing an international number actually pays a long distance rate which can vary from $4 to $7 a minute. In this case, the satellite phone user does not pay airtime charges, but the caller is paying through their long distance provider. There may be some instances where this option is convenient. For example, when dealing with associates or clients you want to pay for the call. This “caller pays” option is available with Iridium which we also have as a rental option.

Can I get insurance?

Yes, Many times a satellite rental phone is taken in remote areas where items can be damaged. With Insurance at only $45 per rental, you are covered in the event of damage to the satellite phone. This insurance does not cover loss, theft or confiscation. You are required to send us back the pieces.

Can I share the minutes if I rent 2 phones?

Yes, you can. You will just need to make sure that you list in the comment section of the rental that you would like to share the pre-paid min between phones.

How much is the cost to use data?

Data fee is $2.49 per min

Is there a minimum usage Fee?

All rental phones require the purchase of a minimum airtime block, typically 40 minutes. If you use more, we bill you at $1.75/minute.

Is there a roaming fee?

You always pay the same per minute rate no matter where on earth you are. There is no”roaming fee”. The cost to call a landline or cell phone is the same everywhere. The only exception is when calling other sat phones from a different carrier. These guys don’t play together nicely. For example, calling an Isatphone from an Iridium phone , or vice versa, could cost $8/minute or more.

Is there an activation Fee?


What happens if I go over my rental’s prepaid bundled minutes?

We keep every phone active whether or not pre-paid minutes are purchased. If you use more minutes than you prepay, you will just be charged the regular rate $1.75 per min once the rental has been returned. The phone never shuts off.

What is the cost for shipping?

The standard two day air shipping for rental phones is typically $29.95 for 2nd day service, but be sure to check the actual phone rental pages for exact details. Overnight shipping, or Saturday delivery, as well as shipping to Alaska or Hawaii have additional costs. Each rental customer will purchase a prepaid return label, at a cost similar to the outgoing rate. The return label makes it convenient for the customer to simply use this label and ship the phone back using FedEx.

What is the standard per minute rate for Iridium phone rental? And do I have to buy pre-paid min?

The standard per min rate for the Iridium rentals is $1.75 per minute. There are minimum airtime blocks required for all rental phones, typically 40 minutes. The larger the block of minutes purchased, the lower the per minute rate that is charged. Refer to the individual rental pages for exact details.


What is the rate of data speed?

Very SLOW 2500 baud, or 2.4kbps. This is about 1/20th of dial-up speed.

Will I have access to the Internet?

The Iridium 9505A, 9555 and the 9575 can connect to the internet with a laptop and an optional accessory called a “data kit”. With this accessory, you will be able to access the internet for email and other basic purposes. It is extremely slow, at 2.4kbps. This is about 1/20th of dial-up speed. It also requires some technical expertise. In our opinion, is two slow and complicated to be of any use whatsoever.


What is the difference between the Iridium 9555 and its predecessor, the Iridium 9505A?

The Iridium 9555 satellite phone is smaller and lighter than the Iridium 9505A and also has a more user friendly sleek design and intuitive menu-driven interface an older model. New features make it even easier to use, including an integrated speakerphone, brighter display screen, improved SMS and email capabilities, easier navigation and flexible menu choices through the use of soft keys, an internally stowed antenna and an integrated Mini-USB data port. The 9500 model is the oldest model Iridium phone and a 50 minute pre-paid purchase is required.

Which model is the best to rent?

Globalcom recommends the 9555 model to rent.


Can I call 911 from my Iridium satellite phone?

If you are traveling within Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can connect to emergency services by dialing 911 or 112 from your Iridium satellite phone. 911 services are only available in the continental USA; so it’s a good idea to pre-program one or more emergency numbers into your phone if you are traveling elsewhere just in case. Keep in mind that Iridium will no be able to determine your position. You will need to be able to tell the operator where you are located. If you are using an Iridium model 9575, you can use the phone’s internal GPS to determine your position.

Do satellite phones work exactly the same way as cell phones?

Not quite. The major difference is the antenna on your satellite phone must have a clear line of sight to the sky. Satellite phones work best when used outside without obstructions like tall buildings, mountains or trees. For optimal results, take a 360 degree view of your surroundings, if there is anything between you and the sky, move locations. Signal strength may weaken in towns and cities or inside buildings.

Does the antenna have to be extended up to get signal?

No. In fact, we recommend not extending it, and using the phone in hands free mode. The antenna is the week spot on the Iridium phones. It is very easily broken, and expense to fix. It is not even possible to fix the antenna on an Iridium 9575. Also, raising and lower the antenna will eventual break the tiny wire inside the antenna mast, making the phone unusable.

How do I get reception on a satellite phone?

You must be outside, with a clear view of the sky. Anything solid will interrupt the signal (i.e. buildings or other obstructions). Once you turn the phone on, it will start looking for service. The phone will register once it has connected to the satellite and then the phone is ready to make and receive calls.

How do I make a call with my Iridium satellite phone?

Take the following steps to ensure the proper functioning of your Iridium phone:

  • Fully charge the phone’s battery.
  • Go outside with a clear view of the sky. Turn the phone on and ensure that the antenna is extended and pointing straight up toward the sky. Wait for the phone to register on the network – the LED indicator on top of the phone will be flashing green and you will see "IRIDIUM Registered" on the display.
  • To place a call, dial 00, the country code, the area / network code and then the phone number. Press the green button to start the call. A phone number in the U.S. should be dialed in this sequence: 00-1-480-232-6754.
  • To hang up, press the red button.
  • To answer an incoming call, extend the antenna, and press the green button.
  • Enter the 00 plus country code then phone number
  • Enter the country code for the country you are calling (for example, the country code for both Canada and the U.S. is ‘1’).
  • Enter the area code.
  • Enter the telephone number.
  • For example, to call 0012564322685
How does a satellite phone work?

Satellite phones must have “line-of-sight” to the satellites in order to operate. This means the antenna on the phone must be outdoors with nothing solid obstructing it’s view to the sky. Anything solid can block the phone to satellite signal. e.g. Trees, buildings, hills or mountains, vehicles, etc

How does the Auxiliary antenna work?

The portable auxiliary antenna attaches to your phone via the Iridium antenna adapter with a magnetic mount on the end which is attached to the top of your car to give you line-of-sight to the Iridium satellites.

Tech Specs:

  • 2.2 in. magnetic mount antenna
  • 5 feet cable
  • TNC male connector
  • Diameter of mag-mount: 5.5 cm / 2.2 in.
  • Height 1.4cm / 0.6 in
  • Weight 83.6 g / 6.4 oz
  • Operating temperature:  -40C to +70C
How should I dial in order to call Iridium phones?

There are two ways that calls can be placed to your Iridium phone.

  1. Direct Dialing – Caller places international long distance call directly to the Iridium phone. Start with the international dialing prefix for the country where the caller is located followed by your Iridium phone number. The international prefix for the US is 011. So to place a call to the Iridium phone from the US, the caller dials 011 followed by the Iridium phone number beginning with country code 8816. If you do not answer the phone, the caller may leave a voice mail message that you can retrieve later.

    When placing a direct call as described above, the caller pays for the international call, and the incoming call on the Iridium is free, and does not use your minutes. However, some long distance carriers charge a very high per minute rate for calling country code 8816. We advise that callers check with their long distance provider for the per minute rate for country code 8816 before using this method. We provide an alternate method of placing a call to the Iridium to avoid this international rate, which is two stage dialing.

  2. Two Stage Dialing – The caller places a call to 480-768-2500. At the prompt, the caller enters the Iridium phone number beginning with 8816. The call is then transferred to your Iridium phone. With this method, the caller pays for the call to area code 480, which is a US number. The incoming minutes will be charged to the Iridium phone at the same rate for placing a call, or in the case of prepaid minutes, the minutes are subtracted from your remaining prepaid minutes.

Most users select Two Stage Dialing since it is normally less expensive, and eliminates each caller needing to check with their particular long distance carrier to determine the international rate to call country code 8816. Select the method which best meets your usage requirements.

Iridium’s full international number is 8816XXXXXXXX.

From another Iridium or satellite phone, dial  00-8816XXXXXXXX

From US cell phones, dial 011-8816XXXXXXXX.

From a US land line, dial 011-8816XXXXXXXX.

Please be aware that calls to Iridium phones from landlines or cellular phones are very expensive, so please check the rates with your phone company before calling.

How to test my Iridium phone and service for FREE

By dialing 00-1-480-752-5105 from the satellite phone, Iridium subscribers can verify that their phone is working properly and familiarize themselves with the phone’s operation – all free of charge. Callers will hear a recorded message confirming that their call was completed and offering quick tips on proper handset usage. This automated service allows subscribers to test their phones whenever and wherever they like.

If I am in the brush or trees will it work?

You might receive a satellite connection but the signal would probably be weak and you will not have good reception because you do not have a good line-of–sight to the satellite.

Is there anywhere in the world my Iridium satellite phone won’t work?

The Iridium network provides global coverage however; Iridium complies with U.S. embargo restrictions and as such is prohibited from providing products and service to the following countries: Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran and North Korea.

What data service does the Iridium software work with?

To use Direct Internet Data Service, you must connect a PC to your data-capable Iridium satellite phone, and install the modem driver on your computer. Then you’ll be able to use standard software applications like Microsoft Dial-Up Networking or Direct Internet 2.0 software to access the Internet.

What is Two-Stage Calling To Iridium Phone?

Two-Stage Calling allows to call an Iridium phone without incurring high charges of calling to satellite phones. The cost of the call is charged to the Iridium subscriber.

– Dial 1-480-768-2500 from your landline or cell phone*, you should hear the following message: "Welcome to the Iridium Satellite Global Network".
– Enter the Iridium 12 digit satellite phone number (8816XXXXXXXX) you would like to reach.

* Long-distance call charges to a US number will apply to your phone bill.

What kind of reception will I have?

As long as you are outside in the open view of the sky with your phone ON the antenna extended up and receiving a satellite signal you will have a great reception and connection.

Will it work in a car?

YES…Successful use of the phone in your car will be limited without the use of the portable auxiliary antenna (which can be rented on the additional accessory section of the rental form) which magnetically attaches to the roof of your car.

Will it work on a Cruise Ship? Should I rent a satellite phone to stay in touch while on board?

A satellite phone is a good way to stay connected with family and co-workers while you’re away. Just make sure you’re at the farthest point away from the ship’s antenna and you’re on the top deck with a clear line of sight to the sky.

Rental Questions

Can I rental a water proof case?

Yes, a water proof pelican case is an additional accessory option on the rental form which will protect your phone from water which can be rented.

Do I have a support line to call if I need help?

24 hour customer support is available

Do I receive an instruction manual with my rental?

We send you a Quick Start Guide which gives you the basic instructions on how to operate the phones.
In order to assist you with help on using your Iridium Satellite Phone we do have the User manuals online on our website.

At the top of our website you will find a grey navigational line with the word PRODUCTS please click on
PRODUCTS – IRIDIUM PHONES AND PRODUCTS – depending on which model you choose you will click on the phone model sections
LEARN MORE button scroll down the page and look for the BLUE link Iridium User Guide or Manual click on the words and you will open the manual that will answer and guide you with all your questions.

Does it come with a carrying bag?

Yes, a soft carrying case.

How do I reserve a phone?

YES, Pre-book and reserve your rental now online
Because of the limited number of phones in our rental pool we suggest for you to go ahead and reserve your phone for the rental time to guaranty that we will have one available for you on the date you request.

How many batteries are included with the rental?

Standard rental includes 1 battery. The Iridium 9555 and 9505A model include two batteries with the package.

Is there a minimum time I have to rent the phone?

Yes, the standard rental period is at least 1 week or longer.

What accessories do I need for my rental phone?

Choosing Accessories – Depending on where you travel you may only need the basic phone with a soft case or you may be travelling in an area where you will need a hard water proof case. If you are travelling where there is no way to recharge your batteries you may want to rent a number of batteries and charge them before you leave. You have the choice of a flexible solar panel that can be used to charge your batteries through a vehicle charger. We also have a Belt Clip carrying case for you to wear on your belt around your waist so you can keep the phone on you. If you need to use the Internet a data kit can be rented. You can travel light or heavy it all depends on your need

What Equipment is included with the standard rental package?

One phone, one battery, one AC charger and one soft carrying bag. The Iridium 9555 and 9505A models include two batteries with the standard rental package. The Iridium 9575 and Isatphone-2 both include a single battery.

What is the coverage area?

Iridium is the only satellite phone provider that will give you complete global coverage which includes all oceans, The Iridium constellation includes 66 low earth orbiting satellites. The satellites are cross linked and has multiple in orbit spares. Iridium has the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world.

To make and receive calls on a handheld satellite phone you must be outside away from large structures and trees with a view of the sky.

The following is a list of the restricted/embargoed countries, applying to Iridium satellite phones.
The three Restricted Countries where the Iridium phone will not complete a call to the local phone system are: N. Korea, Poland, & Hungary.

The embargoed countries where a satellite phone will work in these countries (we cannot guarantee service), but there (may be) issues taking an Iridium phone into these areas at customs/border patrols: Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Angola & Yugoslavia.

You may need special government permission to bring a satellite phone into embargoed countries.

What is the difference between the Iridium 9555 and its predecessor, the Iridium 9505A?

The Iridium 9555 satellite phone is smaller and lighter than the Iridium 9505A and also has a more user friendly sleek design and intuitive menu-driven interface. New features make it even easier to use, including an integrated speakerphone, brighter display screen, improved SMS and email capabilities, easier navigation and flexible menu choices through the use of soft keys, an internally stowed antenna and an integrated Mini-USB data port.

What type of phone number will I receive?

The phone number is a 12-digit Iridium phone number assigned by Globalcom that is specific to the Iridium network. Iridium has it’s own country code of 8816 which is then followed by 8 digits. (E.g. 8816-2413-1234) When placing calls to and from Iridium network you must always use international dialing. (E.g. From North America dial 011-8816-2413-1234)

When do I have to return the phone?

You will also be ask on the rental form what is your expected return date. That date will be the day you will be able to drop off your package for return to any FedEx office located inside the US and your rental period will end on that date. We give you a 3 day grace period to return the rental phone.

When does the rental time start?

On the rental form you will find that you will be asked what day you want your rental to be delivered.
The delivery date is the day your rental will start. The last day of your rental is the day the return label is scanned by FedEx.  For example, if you leave a phone package in a droop box on a Sunday, your rental will end on Monday when the box is scanned.

Who manufactures the Iridium satellite phones?

Motorola manufactured the 9500 and the 9505 model phones. Most recently Iridium has taken over manufacturing of the 9505A, 9555 & 9575 Extreme model satellite phones.

Will I have a US phone number?

NO, Iridium is a International Network which has it own country code 8816-


Can I get the phone delivered to another country?

We only ship rental phones inside the US. You can take the phone and use it anywhere in the world once you receive it.

Can I pick up the rental phone at the office?

Yes, our office is located in Dallas TX. We accept walk ins from 11:00 to 4:00pm Central Time.

Can I pick up the rental phone at the office?

Yes, our office is located in Dallas TX. We accept walk ins from 9:00 to 4:00.

Why do I have to choose 2 day air shipping?

The reason for two day shipping method is to insure that your package will arrive on the day you request it. Any other shipping method will not guaranty what day it will arrive.


Are the Iridium satellite phones water-resistant?

All Iridium models, except the model 9575, have no protection from exposure to water. If you’ll be in inclement weather we recommend the Iridium 9575 Extreme phone. The 9575 is water resistant to the IP-65 standard. However, it is not waterproof.

Does the temperature affect the life of a battery?

Yes, exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold will shorten the life of a battery.

How long does each battery charge last?

About 3.5 hours of straight talk time, 30 hours of standby, and if the phone is off and just turned on intermittently, the battery can last up to a week.

Generally, the average talk time is 2-3 hours. This will vary based on battery type, battery age and phone model. We always advise carrying a spare, fully charged battery. The phones will also work without a battery, but while plugged in to an appropriate electrical source.

How long does the battery take to charge?

To fully charge the battery it usually takes around 2 to 3 hours.

How long does the solar panel take to charge?

To fully charge the battery it usually takes around 4 hours with direct sun.

How much does the satellite phone weigh?

Iridium Extreme 9575 weighs 247 grams (8.7 oz)
Iridium 9555 weighs 266 grams (9.4 oz)
Iridium 9505A weighs 374 grams (13.2 oz)
Iridium 9500 weighs 624 grams (1lb, 6 oz)

Is the wall charger a 110 V or 220 V?

The Iridium and Inmarsat wall charges support both  110VAC and 220VAC voltages. You may need an adapter to be able to use non-USA style sockets.


Can I send and receive a Text?

Yes, text/SMS messages can be sent and received on your Iridium satellite phone. Your phone must be on to receive messages.

Texting with a satellite phone is not the same as with a cell phone. The text is NOT an instant text message. The Iridium network will make updates in the network several times during the day to send text messages. To receive a text message you must be outside with your phone powered on and the antenna up with a satellite signal. Once the unit is registered to the satellite your messages will be updated and appear on your screen that you have a message.

Can my contacts send me text messages?

Your contacts can send you messages with the Iridium messaging tool. If they want to send messages from their cell phones, they should check with their local carriers to ensure they are able to send international text messages.

How do I text?

People that need to contact you may also send a text message to the Iridium phone. Incoming text messages are free, and can be retrieved when you connect to the satellite. To send a message, go to This is the best method since a text character counter is provided. Alternatively you may send an email by entering the Iridium phone number into the following generic email address, 8816[number] You may send a maximum of 160 characters, including the header information. Any messages in excess of 160 characters will be truncated.

  • To send a text message to an Iridium telephone, either use email or visit the Iridium website
    • eg. To send a text message simply address it to the appropriate Iridium telephone Number in the following format
    • You must not include a subject when creating your email and you must restrict the message to 160 characters.
    • Tip: use the subject "NO" to suppress sending information about who the sender is, which allows more room for the message itself

Please see the Tutorial video attached


How do I access my voicemail?
  • Wait for the voice prompt.
  • Enter your full Iridium number (ex. 8816-314-XXXXX).
  • Interrupt the voicemail greeting by pressing the "*" key.
  • Wait for the prompt to enter your password
How do I check voice messages?

Press the envelope key on the keypad. A prompt will show “Call Voicemail.” Press the OK button. A recorded voice will say, “You have entered the Iridium voice messaging system – please re-enter your satellite phone number”, {8816 – eight digit number}. As soon as you hear the phone’s voice greeting, press the star (*) key. Enter your password, which will be provided on an instruction sheet, and follow the prompts to retrieve your messages.