Satphones cannot and will not ever replace SSB. It's not a question of technology, i.e., reliability or cost or coverage or access to the Internet. It's a question of typology.
Satphones are point-to-point. They connect you with ONE OTHER point.
Radios are point-to-multiple point. There are over 1,000,000 licensed hams in the world and they are located all over the world. When you pick up the mic on a ham radio, you have the potential of talking to, and/or being heard or overheard by many, many stations. Ditto for marine SSB, though the community is much smaller.
You have only to do some active cruising with a SSB or a ham radio to know. Or, if you're landbound, listen into the marine SSB and the ham SSB nets: the Waterway Net on 7268LSB daily at 0745 EDT; the Cruisheimer's Net daily on 6227USB at 0830EDT; the Maritime Mobile Net daily on 14300USB noon to 9PM; etc., etc.
On these nets, boats check in to report their positions; learn where other boats are; hook up with them; obtain the latest weather reports; obtain help when they are in difficulty; talk to the Coast Guard in real emergencies (yes, the Coast Guard comes up on the ham nets); check propagation; get info on just about anything imaginable; etc., etc.
On a given day, some 50 or so cruising boats will check in on Cruiseheimers'; about 20 or more will check in on the Waterway Net; many others will check in on the MM Net, the Hurricane Net, the Safety and Security Net in the Caribbean, the NW Caribbean Net, the Pacific Seafarers Net, the Southeast Asian Net, and many, many others.
You can't do any of this with a satphone.
And, despite advances in technology, you never will be able to.
Last edited by btrayfors; 03-15-2008 at 08:28 PM.