The Best Satellite Phones for Alaska: Calling and SMS

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best satellite phones for alaska. tested by outdoor tech lab for satellite calling and sms texting

The Essential Connection: Finding the Best Satellite Phones for Alaska

With its vast wilderness and unpredictable weather, staying connected in Alaska can be a matter of safety. Satellite phones offer a lifeline when cellular service fails.

Recently, Google Trends shows a surge in searches for satellite phones specifically in Alaska and Montana.

For those living, working, or exploring the vast and rugged landscape of Alaska, reliable communication can mean the difference between life and death. With limited cellular coverage and frequent stretches of remote, wilderness terrain, traditional mobile phones often fall short.

That’s why satellite phones have become an essential tool for Alaskans, providing a vital lifeline in times of emergency and ensuring connectivity even in the most isolated regions.

In a state where outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and off-grid adventures are deeply woven into the fabric of daily life, the need for dependable satellite communication has never been greater.

Whether you’re a commercial fisherman battling the Bering Sea, a bush pilot navigating treacherous mountain passes, or a backcountry hiker traversing the untamed wilderness, having the right satellite phone at your fingertips can be a matter of survival.

the best satellite phones for alaska today
Top 10 sat phones today

Here’s a breakdown of some trending options and why adventurers are choosing them:

Top 3 Best Satellite Phones for Alaska

Iridium Extreme 9575: This rugged phone offers global coverage and boasts advanced features like GPS tracking and emergency SOS. A top pick for serious Alaskan expeditions!

The phone’s military-grade durability allows it to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, and high-impact drops, making it well-suited for Alaska’s harsh conditions.

With up to 4 hours of talk time and 30 hours of standby on a single charge, the 9575 Extreme’s battery life is also impressive, offering peace of mind for extended backcountry adventures.

Costing around $1,299 for the device and requiring a monthly service plan, a new Iridium 9575 Extreme is a premium satellite phone option, but one that many Alaskans consider a worthwhile investment for the peace of mind and safety it provides.

Garmin inReach Mini 2: This compact communicator offers two-way messaging, location tracking, and weather updates on a subscription plan. Popular for hiking and backcountry trips.

Unlike traditional handheld satellite phones, the inReach Mini 2 is a satellite communicator that pairs with your smartphone to enable two-way text messaging, location tracking, and SOS emergency capabilities.

The key advantage of the inReach Mini 2 is its small, portable size – weighing just 3.5 ounces, it’s easily packable for any outdoor adventure. Despite its diminutive dimensions, the device still delivers reliable connectivity through the Iridium satellite network, ensuring you can stay in touch and summon help even in the most remote areas of Alaska.

In addition to its compact form factor, the inReach Mini 2 boasts impressive battery life of up to 14 days in typical use, or up to 400 hours in power-saving mode. This makes it a great option for multi-day backcountry trips where access to power sources may be limited.

While the inReach Mini 2 doesn’t offer the same voice calling capabilities as a traditional satellite phone, its two-way text messaging features allow you to communicate critical information to your contacts or emergency responders.

The device also integrates with Garmin’s various outdoor GPS devices and mobile apps, providing useful location tracking and navigation tools.

Priced at around $349 for the device and requiring a separate satellite subscription plan, the Garmin inReach Mini 2 is a more affordable satellite communication solution compared to full-fledged satellite phones.

For Alaskans seeking a compact, lightweight, and reliable backup for their outdoor adventures, the inReach Mini 2 is a compelling option that leverages the expansive Iridium network. 

Another value-priced option in this category is the ZOLEO satellite communicator. Known as the ultimate bargin in global communication. These messengers are also trending in Alaska and Montana! 

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2: Designed for reliable voice calls and SMS, it’s known for its long battery life and durability.

While Inmarsat’s satellite network doesn’t quite match the blanket coverage of Iridium, the IsatPhone 2 still provides extensive connectivity throughout Alaska, with the ability to make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, and access essential data services.

The phone’s rubberized, water-resistant casing and Gorilla Glass display make it well-equipped to withstand the rigors of Alaska’s outdoor environment. And with up to 8 hours of talk time and 160 hours of standby, the IsatPhone 2’s battery life is among the best in the industry.

At around $899 for the device and a competitive monthly service plan, the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 offers a more budget-friendly satellite phone option for Alaskans without sacrificing core functionality and reliability.

best satellite phones for alaska for calling and sms
iridium 9575 extreme updates

Why Satellite Phones are a Must-Have for Alaska

Alaska’s remote landscapes often mean unreliable or nonexistent cellular coverage. Satellite phones access global networks, ensuring communication when it matters most, including:

  • Emergencies: A vital tool for signaling for help in remote locations where cellular service is unavailable.
  • Remote Work: Professionals working on field projects can stay connected.
  • Outdoor Recreation: Hikers, hunters, and anglers can maintain contact with loved ones and access safety resources.


  • Can I use my regular cell phone in Alaska? Major cities usually have cellular coverage, but vast areas do not.
  • Is a satellite phone subscription needed? Yes, plans vary in minutes, features, and costs.
  • What’s the best satellite network for Alaska? Iridium provides the most comprehensive coverage across the state.

Alaska-Approved: Iridium Satellite Phones

For those spending significant time in the Alaskan interior, Iridium stands out. Its network of satellites ensures reliable coverage even in the most remote areas. Both dedicated satellite phones and messengers like the Garmin inReach communicate on the Iridium network.

Selecting the ideal satellite phone for Alaska’s unique environment requires careful consideration of a variety of factors. “Not all satellite phones are created equal,” explains Alaskan outdoor enthusiast and safety expert, Nora Winters. “Factors like coverage area, call quality, battery life, and durability are crucial when choosing the right device for our state’s rugged conditions.”

One of the primary considerations is the satellite phone’s coverage area. Alaska’s vast size and remote location mean that not all satellite networks provide complete, reliable coverage throughout the state. “You need a phone that can connect to a satellite network with extensive reach, especially in the more remote northern and western regions of Alaska,” advises Winters.

Leading satellite phone providers like Iridium, Globalstar, and Inmarsat offer varied coverage maps, with Iridium generally considered the gold standard for comprehensive connectivity across Alaska. “Iridium’s network of 66 cross-linked low-earth orbit satellites ensures you can get a signal almost anywhere in the state, even in the most isolated areas,” says Winters. “That kind of coverage is essential for safety and peace of mind when you’re out in the wilderness.”

the best satellite phones for Alaska for calling and sms messages
Always stay connected

In addition to coverage, call quality is another crucial factor. “You need a satellite phone that can deliver clear, reliable voice communication, even in adverse weather conditions,” Winters explains. “Dropped calls or garbled audio can be a life-or-death issue in an emergency situation.”

Durability is also paramount, as satellite phones are often subjected to extreme environmental stresses in Alaska. “These devices need to be able to withstand freezing temperatures, heavy rain, snow, and the occasional drop or impact,” Winters notes. “Rugged, waterproof models that can survive the rigors of outdoor activities are a must-have.”

Battery life is another important consideration, as satellite phones can become a vital lifeline in remote areas with no access to power sources. “You want a phone that can hold a charge for extended periods, especially if you’re embarking on a multi-day expedition,” Winters advises. “The last thing you want is your satellite phone dying when you need it most.”

Choosing the Right Satellite Phone for Your Alaskan Needs

When it comes to selecting the best satellite phone for Alaska, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs, budget, and the type of activities you’ll be engaging in.

“If you’re an avid backcountry hiker or hunter who ventures deep into the wilderness, the Iridium 9575 Extreme is probably your best bet,” advises Winters. “The comprehensive coverage and robust durability make it the gold standard for satellite communication in Alaska.”

For those with a more limited budget or who don’t require the absolute maximum coverage, the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 is a fantastic alternative that still delivers reliable connectivity and essential features at a more affordable price point.

Expert Resources

Ultimately, the best satellite phones for Alaska are the devices that best meet your specific communication needs, while also providing the ruggedness, battery life, and coverage required to keep you safe and connected in the state’s vast and unforgiving terrain.

Stay Connected, Stay Safe in Alaska

Invest in the peace of mind that satellite communication brings when venturing into Alaska’s wild beauty. With the right phone or communicator, you’ll never be truly out of reach.

The top 3 selling Amazon sat phones are listed below with current prices.

I hope this helps!


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