I had a Globalstar phone from 2005-2009, until their failed-amp problems got so bad that I wasn't able to make a connection even during predicted windows. I also had a 9600-baud Internet kit, which was useful when traveling by car outside of cell coverage.
I then switched to an Iridium phone. It has worked reliably whenever I've used it, including in areas with limited sky view. The contract price keeps creeping up ($55/mo. not including minutes), so I'm considering moving back to Globalstar when they become fully operational again.
I consider the sat phone to be a 1-pound penalty for my freedom. It's a business thing, and as long as I can check that my machines are running smoothly and thump them when they aren't, I can be away doing what I want. I also go solo, off-trail, year-round, and as long as my wife knows I can call if I'm in trouble, she doesn't worry about me. I don't consider that I'm 'chained to the grid'; instead, because I only use it to call out and it's turned off otherwise, nobody can bother me until I am ready to check in for a few minutes once a day. Since I don't have an Internet kit for it, I can't check my e-mail ("so sorry").