In most cases, ‘a thousand dollar question’ is a way to imply severity in an inquiry. It is not so much an implication about satellite phones, but an actual truth. These mobile devices are light years away when it comes to connectivity, though it is minimalistic when it comes to non-necessary features you will find on smartphones today (high-resolution camera, flexible UI and others). Nevertheless, satellite phones serve a purpose, and that is to provide communication in the most inaccessible places on earth. It is not an understatement to say that they are only useful in extreme circumstances. Thus, should you buy one?
Rugged vs Delicate
Flagship smartphones supposedly have all the things everyone needs, as long as they stay in cities. All the certifications and features will not mean much if they are out of their comfort zone, like a mine or a rural industrial complex. You can even say that what makes them pretty makes them vulnerable (touch interface, Gorilla glass, plastic body). An Iridium satellite phone, though, will not out of its depth even in a war zone. Drop it as many times as you can and it will still work. It also happens to be military grade, which explains its toughness. Most importantly, it can give you the one thing you will need in such a situation: an opportunity to communicate. It does not have anything else, but you could be in the most far-flung places and you can still talk to someone in crystal clarity.
Rate providers for satellite are not friendly with each other and they want one group to buy from the same place or risk paying more for call minutes. The simple solution is to buy minutes from the provider, but there is still a catch. You can only use the minutes you buy for a year, unless you opt for a postpaid plan.
Internet in Inaccessible Places
New satellite phones can turn into Wi-Fi hotspots, so there is that added benefit. Smartphones have the same capability, but as always, they have limits and satellite phones do not. Foresight is really important when buying satellite phones, but it helps that you can track cellular towers now. Other than that, if you have absolute need for constant communication, you have reason to buy these thousand-dollar devices.