I have some friends who have rent sat-phones to go hiking in remote areas. It's amazing for peace of mind. They actually used it last year after being cut-off from the road by a storm. They were able to use the phone to notify relatives that they'd be late a couple days.
But the # of people who need this is relatively small compared to the immense cost of satellites. Of course, the biggest users of sat phones aren't the occasional hikers. I think it's the government and resource extraction sectors, e.g. mining firms.
I wonder, could someone launch a SMS only satellite service based on only a few geo-sync satellites rather than the 66 (!) that Iridium launched? With texting only, the extra lag and a few dropped packets don't matter (as long as it re-sends them later).