4.9.07

Satellite phones and Disasters




What if a great big earthquake devastates all of Luzon or a catastrophic event like a regionwide-tsunami occurs in Mindanao or the Visayas... and all the landline connections conk out... cell sites suddenly stop from working? Not likely? Think again...

I read somewhere that during a disaster, everything that depends on infrastructure will not work. Forget mobile phones. Forget PDA's or wifis' or accessing ATM's.

Only a satellite phone can provide a direct voice to voice communication link during a disaster like Katrina perhaps, or the recent Asian tsunami.

The effects of global warming has finally dawned. Watch what's happening to the gulf states of the US. Typhoon signal level 5's occuring one after another in other parts of the world.

Is it time to rent a satellite phone?

Satellite phones can call landlines worldwide. It can call other satellite phones or do voice mail, can send SMS, or even make data calls. "Satellite calls are made through space. Earth stations and space-based backhaul routes phone call packets through space to downlinks or feeder links. Station to station calls can be routed directly through space with no downlink. As satellites leave the area of an earth base station the routing tables change and frames are forwarded to the next satellite just coming into view of the earth base station."

In the U.S. Motorola satellite phones are already being rented out just in case. Or to be better prepared to respond during emergencies.

Iridium Satellite, a service provider in the U.S claims 203,000 subscribers as of June 2007.

Locally, I believe Smart's beat Globe to the punch. It is now actively marketing its satellite phones to seafarers. This means that even at sea, seafarers can now be reached anytime, anyday.

Satellite phone handset made its first appearance in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. It was used by one of the villains in a scene set in Uganda. It was also featured frequently in another 2006 movie, Miami Vice.

But before deciding to get one, think about the cost. It is anything but cheap.