Kenya has received 10 Iridium satellite phones from the International Telecommunication Union. The devices have been issued to the Government for use in case of any emergencies or threats within the country. Iridium Communications Inc is a company based in McLean, Virginia, United States which operates the Iridium satellite constellation, a system of 66 active satellites used for worldwide for voice and data communication from hand-held satellite phones and other transceiver units.
The Iridium Network is unique in that it covers the whole earth including poles, oceans and airways. The company derives its name from the chemical element iridium. The number of satellites projected in early stages of planning was 77, the atomic number of iridium, evoking the metaphor of 77 electrons orbiting the nucleus. The satellites are frequently visible in the night sky as satellite flares, a phenomenon typically observed as short-lived bright flashes of light.
The government will have the phones to provide co-ordination of emergency services including; floods, security and other situations particularly in areas with poor or no network coverage on terrestrial platform. Recently International Telecommunication Union deployed 35 satellites mobile phones and 10 Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals to Nepal.
The equipment ensures timely flow of information that is much needed by the government agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in rescue operations. Satellite phones connect to orbiting satellites instead of terrestrial. They provide similar functionality to terrestrial mobile telephones; voice, short messaging service and low-bandwidth internet access are supported through most systems.
The Iridium Satellite Phones have the following options:
- Iridium GO!: This pocket sized portable battery powered Wi-Fi hotspot lets you take your smart phone or tablet virtually anywhere.
- Iridium 9575 EXTREME. This is the current state-of-the-art iridium handheld satellite phone. It is designed for extreme weather. A built-in GPS lets you automatically text and trail your locations.
- Iridium 9555. This is the economical work horse model satellite phone of the iridium family.
- Docking Stations for your Satellite Phone. Outfitter Satellite offers both bag phone portable docking stations and docking stations for in-building and vehicular applications.
- Compact solar panels. These are lightweight solar panels include a small battery pack, they are suitable for charging an iridium satellite phone, other smart phones and small electronics.
- BEAM RST-100. The single-line rack mountable terminal has a RJ-11 telephone port to allow integration with standard phone PABX systems. shop.outfittersatellite.com/iridium.html
The iridium satellite phones are ideal for the government because most disasters and insecurities will be curbed. Currently disaster management teams are compromised because of luck of good transport and communication networks especially in rural areas and slums.