Satellite Phone Help, Tips and Advice

  Satellite Phone Help, Tips and Advice

I’ve got my phone – how do I add credit to it?

Adding airtime or credit to an Iridium phone is easy. If you are using a pre-pay phone the quickest way is to order your additional airtime using our online facility by clicking here.

Hang About - That's an American Site
Yes - you're right. Because Iridium are an American company we find it easier and cheaper for our customers to buy their satellite phone airtime from the US, but don't worry, you're still dealing with G Comm - just our American office. 

Once I’ve bought my airtime I can use it when I like, right?

No – not entirely. You can use your satellite phone 24 hours a day 365 days a year so long as you have unexpired airtime (credit) on your phone.

Credit (on pre-pay phones) for airtime is not only sold by the amount of minutes you are buying but also for how long you have to use this credit. For example, you can purchase 75 minutes of call time, to be used anywhere in the world for $175, but this will expire after 30 days…whether you have used 1 minute or 74 minutes, the credit will reset to zero after 30 days.

Of course, there are ways to avoid losing time. You can add a 30 day extension for $47.95 to your unused credit, or you can purchase another plan:

for example

I originally purchased a 75 minute plan. On day 28 I have only used 40 minutes of the plan so I purchase a further 75 minute plan meaning I now have 110 minutes (35 minutes from my old plan + 75 minutes from my new plan) that will not expire for another 32 days (2 days from my old plan + 30 days from my new plan)

What’s this Pre-Pay / Post Pay all about?

You have a choice of how you pay for your satellite phone credit. You can either pay up front – pre-pay, or you can pay monthly based on usage – post-pay. The two are charged in different ways so knowing how you are going to use your phone will enable you to make the best decision – if you need to talk through your options give us a call on 01473 327813. You can find the rates for post pay accounts here and for pre-pay accounts here.

I bought an Iridium phone from one of your competitors. Can I still take advantage of your great airtime rates?

You can, but you will need to buy a new SIM card. Whilst these only cost £10 you will lose your old number and be allocated a new one when you switch. SIM cards can only be topped up by the company that sold you it in the first place. If you have a non-Iridium phone then our sim cards won’t fit at all so you won’t be able to purchase our airtime.

Activation of Airtime
You can activate your airtime at anytime (during UK business hours) you require. All you need to do is call or email us to advise when you want the airtime activated and we will do the rest. It typically takes us around 10 minutes to activate the airtime. 

Sending FREE messages to Iridium Satellite Phones

Did you know that you can send an Iridium phone a text message for free using this facility - Simply add the telephone number of the phone you wish to contact, provide a reply email address and type your message (up to 160 characters). This is useful when you want to pass a short message onto an Iridium user or if you want to confirm you are available to accept a call – remember, unless you are using an Iridium phone yourself it is very expensive to call a satellite phone using your landline or standard mobile (as much as £4 per minute on a BT landline) – it is far cheaper for the Iridium user to call you – anything from £1.37 down to £0.45 per minute dependant on which call package you buy and the strength of the £ against the dollar. Any text message reply from the Iridium phone will be delivered to the email box specified, so make sure you type the email address correctly.

This is the BT web site’s explanation of the cost for calling an Iridium Satellite Phone at the time of writing (source:

Iridium Mobile Satellite System


Time (in seconds ) per10p

At all times

Iridium (Code 8816/7)



So to put that into plain English £4 per minute whatever time you call it!

How do I make a call on my Iridium Satellite Phone?

This video from Iridium walks you through the process of making a call on an Iridium Satellite Phone.

How do you find your Airtime Balance on your Iridium Phone?

If you have a pre-paid SIM card for your Iridium Satellite Phone you can discover your current balance by
  • Calling FREE 2888 from your satellite phone and your minutes remaining and validity period will be announced to you
  • Text FREE to 2888 from your satellite phone and this information will be texted back to you