A communication system (10) includes a plurality of fixed terrestrial gateway terminals (14) and fixed village terminals (18), and also includes a plurality of mobile user terminals (16). The system includes a first satellite (12m) which provides communication in a bent-pipe manner between user terminals (16) lying in spot-beams of the first satellite's antenna and gateway terminals (18) lying in a broad antenna beam. The system also includes a second satellite which provides communications in a bent-pipe manner between or among the gateways/village terminals. The village terminals differ from the gateways in that the village terminals do not include the subscriber of user home or visitor registers. The village terminal includes a wireless local communication system such as a WLL, for communicating with user terminals (16) lying within its range. The user terminals (16) are dual-mode. In a first operating mode, the user terminals (16) communicate with other users by way of the village terminal when within its range, and otherwise switch to a second mode, in which they communicate by way of the first satellite. The village terminal communicates with gateways by means of the second spacecraft.