Modern satellite phones were used by members of the freighter team on the Island to communicate with each other and with the freighter. The phones were touch-screen, and had a number of functions including a tracking system.
In "Catch-22", Desmond, Charlie, Hurley, and Jin discovered a bag with a satellite phone in it. The screen flashed on briefly, then went out. They commented that the battery seemed to be dead, but a closer examination of the screen showed the alert, "Internal Error."
When Sayid took a look at the phone, he was able to turn it on but could not acquire a signal. He remarked that he'd never seen that kind of technology before. When Kate saw the phone and asked him if it worked, Sayid said that the phone was not picking up any channels. ("The Brig")
Later, Juliet informed them that the phone did not work because there was an underwater station called the Looking Glass, which was blocking all communications off the Island. ("Greatest Hits") Naomi explained to Jack how to use the phone, explaining the meaning of a red or green light, in case 'anything happened to her'. Once Charlie had disabled the Looking Glass' communications and Rousseau had turned off her radio transmission (which was interfering with the phone's signal), Naomi was able to connect to her freighter and Jack used the phone to make contact with George Minkowski. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
Kate later took the phone when Naomi went missing, and convinced her before she died to readjust it so that the freighter's tracking system could accurately lock onto it. ("The Beginning of the End"). Later Jack also briefly gave the phone to Daniel Faraday, who used it to locate Miles. ("Confirmed Dead").
Several more calls were made to the freighter by Miles and Daniel. When Miles first called, Regina answered the phone, repeatedly stating that Minkowski was not available. Daniel later called, asking for Regina to send him a payload. When it didn't arrive, Daniel became concerned, but it eventually arrived, thirty-one minutes late. ("The Economist")
After returning to the beach, Jack tried to call the boat multiple times, but received no answer. Juliet suggested that he try another number, like 9-1-1. Jack confronted Charlotte, asking her why he wasn't getting an answer. Charlotte dialed an emergency line to the freighter on the boat, and was subsequently informed by Regina that Frank, Desmond, and Sayid had not reached the freighter yet. ("Eggtown")
As Faraday and Lewis departed for The Tempest, Charlotte took the phone with her. She later claimed that the phone was totally dead while talking to Kate, despite the green light still blazing. ("The Other Woman") The phone broke when Juliet attacked Charlotte inside the Tempest station. (Ji Yeon-Enhanced)
Daniel Faraday stated that his phone was in his backpack which he lost parachuting onto the Island. ("Confirmed Dead")
Frank's phone was broken beyond repair during the landing of the helicopter on the Island after his first trip there. ("Confirmed Dead")
Frank got a new phone before leaving the Kahana for the second time. Upon encountering Sawyer, Miles, and Claire, he urged them to hide, because the freighter mercenaries were following his signal. ("Something Nice Back Home")
Frank dropped the satellite phone, packed in a bag, out of the helicopter and onto the beach, destroying Claire's tent, during his third trip to the Island. Jack recovered the phone, which indicated the position of Keamy's satellite phone. Jack took this as a sign for the beach camp survivors to follow the helicopter. ("Cabin Fever")
The satellite phone's menu icons in order from top left to bottom right were: GPS, "Home" symbol, Files, Clock, Phone, Settings, Mail, and Uplink. Below that was: Calendar, Email, Tools, Main, Dock, Weather, Stocks, and Text. Pressing GPS brought up another screen that displayed a world map, along with the icons: Settings, Home, Clock, LOCATE CHANNEL, and GPS.
The phone had a GPS tracking feature. GPS beacons carried by the team members were described as transmitting a signal to the freighter which was then relayed back to the phone where geographical positions were displayed on the screen. ("Confirmed Dead")
The phone had some degree of configurability that allowed it to change operating frequency to compensate for RF interference in certain parts of the spectrum. ("The Beginning of the End")
- There appear to actually be two prop phones used - an Iridium 9500 in the longer shots, and one for the close-up of the screen.
- Most satellite phones operate in the L-Band, a portion of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. The Iridium satellite phones operate in the 1616 - 1626.5 MHz region of the L-Band.
- The phones are props, and do not actually exist in the real world. The displays are created with computer graphics.*
- The "Home" symbol that appears on the Satellite phone display is identical to the "Home" icon used in Mac OS X.
- "According to the rules of our show, a communication between sat phones is not affected by temporal distortion, but if you were to send a radio broadcast and/or a telegraph message, it would be affected by temporal distortion."
- "We have technical experts down in Hawaii on the production end, and I think that the thinking at the time was, that although these sat phones were built in 2004, that the people who had them had access to the latest technology. So it's sort of like when you travel to Japan, their cell phones are two years ahead of our cell phones. You can walk up to a vending machine with your cell phone and scan a barcode and it'll spit a bag of chips and a coke out at you. The technology existed to build a phone like that in 2004, they just weren't readily available in any American market."