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        Tracking device GSM or Satellite ?
       Differences between the two types of tracking services
There is frequent confusion between the two tracking system yet very different.

Often we think we are equipped with a "Satellite" tracking device because it includes a GPS (Global Position System). The reality is quite different...

All tracking system "Satellite" and " GSM " are equipped with an integrated GPS system.

GPS works indeed via a satellite network, this does not necessarily means your device will use one satellite network for transmission.

It all depends on how are transmitted positions collected by your GPS.

While the built-in GPS tracking device identifies position data via satellite (latitude and longitude of your position, speed, heading, altitude...).

These data should be transmitted to a central data processing which transforms them into points on a dedicated mapping.

But the GPS can transmit this information to the servers through two ways, that is the main difference:

Either using the mobile network : it is then called a "GSM " tracking device,
Either using satellite networks : it is then a true  "Satellite" tracking device.
        Satellite tracking devices

This tracking device works via satellite networks.

This means that it transmit information from its integrated GPS to the data processing center via a satellite network.

Under these conditions, it is indeed a Satellite tracking system !


This tracking device works anywhere... no need for a GSM network.

Whether you are at sea,  in the desert or in the city, you will be assured to be located.


There are three main systems of satellite networks : Inmarsat , Globalstar and Iridium.

Inmarsat and Iridium offers global coverage.

Globalstar offers a smaller coverage but is still very important.

Only the Inmarsat network provides real-time tracking.


Boasting a more complex technology, satellite tracking devices are generally more expensive than GSM tracking system. The cost of data transmission is also higher and often it does not allow to have the same frequency as the GSM tracking solution (Positions every hour or less).


However, you can move around the world at no extra cost. The satellite does not know borders and its running cost is fixed (No roaming charges).

In brief :


The Benefits of Satellite tracking devices :

Global coverage that offers real security if you move outside GSM coverage or outside your country borders . When traveling abroad, the cost of the subscription is often more interesting than a GSM tracking device.


The disadvantages of Satellite tracking devices :

The sale price is higher than for a GSM device and the cost of the monthly or annual subscription is also slightly higher.


Recommendation : All assets or persons moving out GSM coverage and / or traveling abroad : international transport, camper, boat, hikers, climbers , adventurers, great reporters, yachting, aircrafts...

         GSM tracking devices

This device works via the mobile phone network with a SIM card.

It has the advantage of being inexpensive because it uses a very common transmission technology: mobile.


The counterpart is that it stops working when in an area not covered by GSM:  like mountains areas or certain countries, at sea, in the desert, etc ...


Outside of your country, it may continue to operate via mobile networks in the country where it is when GSM networks exist. But this can be dangerous from a financial point of view (Roaming). Many people have had bad surprises during their trip abroad upon receipt of their mobile phone bill. This possibility  applies for GSM tracking device !

In brief :

The advantages of GSM tracking device :

If you use it via its regular mobile phone network, you can take advantage of tracking services for a monthly subscription fee of relatively low cost and it will provides  many positions (every minute).


The disadvantages of GSM tracking device :

For use outside of your country, the bill can become very high. In addition, this device does not work if no GSM network is available.


Recommendation : All assets or persons moving in its country through areas covered by GSM networks.