Globalstar phones look and act like mobile or fixed phones with which you're familiar. The difference is that they can operate virtually anywhere, carrying your call / data over an exceptionally clear, secure Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) satellite signal.
Like "bent-pipes", or mirrors in the sky, the Globalstar constellation of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites picks up signals from over 80% of the Earth's surface, everywhere outside the extreme polar regions and some mid-ocean regions. Once the second-generation constellation is fully deployed and operational, several satellites can pick up a call, and this "path diversity" helps assure that the call is not dropped even if a phone moves out of sight of one of the satellites.
As soon as a second satellite picks up the signal and is able to contact the same terrestrial gateway, it begins to simultaneously transmit. If buildings or terrain block your phone signal, this "soft-handoff" prevents call interruption. The second satellite now maintains transmission of the original signal to the terrestrial "gateway".
Additional advantages of using Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites within the Globalstar system include no perceptible voice delay (latency) and lighter / smaller all-in-one phones.
Gateways process calls, then distribute them to existing fixed and cellular local telephone networks or the Internet. Terrestrial gateways are an important part of Globalstar's strategy to keep key technology and equipment easily accessible and to integrate our services as closely as possible with existing local telephony networks. This helps make the Globalstar system and its services easier to manage, expand and improve.