Inmarsat IsatPhone Firmware Update

Please be advised that the deadline for IsatPhone Pro users to update the firmware on their phones to version 5.3.0 has been extended to Friday, 28 November 2014.

The operational changes to the IsatPhone-ProIsatPhone Pro network, originally scheduled for 18 April 2014, have been postponed to allow users more time to carry out the firmware update.

In addition, Inmarsat have released IsatPhone Pro firmware version 5.5.1. Firmware version 5.5.1 will supersede the (mandatory) firmware version 5.3.0 released in February 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: Installation of firmware version 5.3.0 or higher is critical to the continued use of IsatPhone Pro after the end of November 2014. All IsatPhone Pro users are therefore requested to install firmware v5.3.0 or v5.5.1 without delay, as no further extension to the upgrade deadline can be expected.

Firmware is available for download here.

Introducing the inReach Explorer: the World’s First Satellite Communicator with Built-In Navigation

DeLorme has announced that they are releasing a brand new product: The inReach Explorer. This new device will incorporate a new range of navigation functions alongside DeLorme’s award-winning technology to ensure that you can stay connected wherever you go.

In addition to the messaging, DeLore inReach Explorertracking and SOS capabilities currently offered by the DeLorme inReach SE, users of the inReach Explorer can now view, create or navigate routes and waypoints. An easy-to-follow map view displays routes, waypoints, tracks and messages geo-located onscreen for backtracking or self-rescue. The built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer sensors ensure accuracy and provide heading and bearing information, accurate elevation readings, speed and other useful trip statistics.
 

The inReach Explorer also offers the features that DeLorme inReach SE customers will be familiar with: 

  • Using DeLorme’s Explore portal, inReach owners can also plan their routes and waypoints ahead of time and share their trip details with family and friends to follow along online with the user’s MapShare page or via social media posts.
  • Using DeLorme’s Earthmate App, inReach Explorer also pairs wirelessly with iOS and Android devices to access map data and make text messaging even more convenient. When paired with a mobile device, inReach owners get exclusive, unlimited access to DeLorme’s topographic maps and U.S. NOAA charts, which can be downloaded via an Internet connection prior to departure and remain available in the Earthmate app, even when beyond cellular coverage.
  • In the event of an emergency, the interactive SOS capability of inReach automatically triggers remote tracking and allows users to communicate via text back and forth with responders at the international 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center, ensuring prompt response with the appropriate resources.
  • inReach communicates over the Iridium satellite network, providing truly global two-way satellite connections, high network reliability and low-latency data links (less than 60-second delivery of messages end-to-end) anywhere on Earth, with no gaps, fringe or weak signal areas.

The inReach Explorer will be available to buy from our website in early May.

What are the running costs of satellite phones?

Many people assume that the running costs of satellite phones are high but did you know that you can run a satellite phone from as little as £10 per month? Satellite phones are ideal for anyone needing voice and SMS capabilities in areas where no other reliable methods of telecommunications are available. You have a choice of two airtime options when buying a satellite phone; pay-as you-go  or a pay monthly contract:

  • Pay-as-you-go airtime allows you to buy aman talking on isatphone specified amount of units or minutes and once they have been used or expire you can either top-up or purchase a new card. This is very similar to the way that a pay-as-you-go SIM card works for a regular mobile phone.
  • Pay monthly contracts carry a fixed monthly charge in addition to the cost of any voice and data calls you will make using the SIM. If you plan to use your satellite phone regularly throughout the year and do not want to worry about the expiry dates or inconvenience of topping-up pay-as-you-go SIM cards you may find it more convenient and cost effective to use a post-paid SIM card.

At Global Telesat Communications we sell a range of satellite phones which operate on networks including Globalstar, Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya.

Globalstar

You can run a Globalstar phone from as little as £10 a gtcltd-globalstar-hplogomonth by signing up to their access plan. The Globalstar satellite network is suitable for customers demanding the best satellite voice quality and fastest low-band data speeds at an affordable and highly competitive price. Globalstar currently offer the cheapest pay monthly airtime options and we offer a range of Globalstar airtime plans starting at just €10.00 per month ex VAT with some higher consumption plans offering voice and data calls for as little as €0.15 per minute.

Globalstar have recently introduced pay as you go airtime with airtime vouchers ranging from 50 units for £25 ex VAT to 1000 units for £390 ex VAT. Please click here for more information about Globalstar airtime costs.

Inmarsat

You can run an Inmarsat phone from as little as £18 a month Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-Logoby signing up to their standard plan which includes 10 minutes of call time. Inmarsat is the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications providing voice and high-speed data services to almost anywhere on the planet – on land, at sea and in the air. Inmarsat offer pay as you go airtime from as little as £15 ex VAT for 25 minutes worth of call time to landlines and mobile phones. They also offer a range of pay monthly contracts starting at $30.00 ex VAT.

Although the monthly fees are slightly higher with Inmarsat their contracts have a one month minimum term and so you will not be tied into a long contract. You can find out more about Inmarsat airtime costs here.

Iridium

You can run an Iridium phone from as little as £27 a month iridium-logowith their standard pay monthly contract. Iridium is the world’s second largest provider of mobile voice and data communications services via satellite and the only commercial provider of communications services offering 100% global coverage.

Iridium have pay as you go vouchers starting from £38.00 ex VAT for 50 minutes of call time.

Iridium’s pay as you go vouchers are slightly more expensive than some of the other networks but they are the only one with completely global coverage and so they can be used anywhere on Earth.

Iridium pay monthly contracts cost $45.00 a month ex VAT but they offer a one month minimum term which can be beneficial for people who do not expect to use their satellite phone all year around. Find out more about Iridium airtime costs here.

Thuraya 

You can run a Thuraya phone from just £12 a month on gtcltd-thuraya-hplogotheir standard plan. Thuraya is a United Arab Emirates based provider of mobile satellite voice and data services with coverage across most of Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia.

Thuraya pay as you go vouchers start at just £15 for 22 minutes of call time in NOVA zones.

Post-Paid Thuraya airtime starts at just $20 a month ex VAT. You can find out more about Thuraya airtime costs here.

If you would like to learn more about the running costs for satellite phones please call us on 0800 112 3919.

15 Minutes to Set-Up Your Satellite Phone

We often have customers come to us with last minute requirements or those who are worried that setting up their satellite phone will be complicated but it needn’t be.

Once your SIM is active here’s how to get started.  GTC customers will receive an email once the SIM is active with their phone number details.

If you’re not sure on the status give us a call on +44 1202 801290.

1. Make sure the SIM card is inserted into the satellite phone

Remove the battery and insert the SIM card with gold PINs facing down. The exception is modern Globalstar phones which do not require a SIM card.

clear-line-of-sight-to-the-sky2. Take the phone outside and find a clear line of sight to the sky

For best performance, move away from tall obstacles such as buildings or trees.

Make sure the antenna is fully extended and pointing to its optimal position (straight up to the sky).

For Inmarsat and Thuraya handsets face towards the equator.

3. Make a test call from the satellite phone

When dialling make sure you dial in international format:

e.g. to call GTC dial 00 44 1202 801290.

Use a + or 00 in front of all numbers.

Calling into the phone

Use the same method to call into the phone i.e. a + or 00 in front of the number.

Having problems? Check with your operator that they support calls to satellite phones. Try dialling from a different network.

Did you know…Inmarsat & Iridium customers can call these test numbers for free ?

Inmarsat: +870776999999

Iridium:  +1-480-752-5105 

4. Send a test message*

Enter the recipient’s phone number in international format.

Sending an SMS to the phone

Use the same method to send a text into the phone i.e. a + or 00 in front of the number.

*Excludes Globalstar which does not have SMS capability.

Did you know…You can send a free SMS to some satellite phones?  Visit:

http://msg.iridium.com/

http://connect.inmarsat.com/Services/Land/IsatPhone/SMS/sms.html

https://sms.thuraya.com/

 

Do you have any other tips for getting started with a satellite phone?

 

Post a comment and let us know!

Inmarsat GSPS Service Outage – 11th, 18th and 23rd March 2014

Inmarsat have scheduled maintenance for their GSPS service that will result in a short outage of 10 minutes on the dates shown below:

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoAPAC Region – 11/03/14, between 18.00 UTC & 20.00 UTC

AMER Region – 18/03/14, between 07.00 UTC & 09.00 UTC

EMEA Region – 25/03/14, between 21.00 UTC & 23.00 UTC

GSPS users will not be able to make calls during the 10 minute outage and we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

The SPOT Trace: Brand New Satellite Asset Tracker

The newest member of SPOT’s growing family of products has arrived! Using 100% satellite technology, the SPOT Trace tracks your most valuable assets virtually anywhere in the world, beyond the reach of traditional cellular coverage.

SPOT_Trace

The new SPOT Trace is the ultimate anti-theft satellite asset tracking device. It ensures cars, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles and other valuable assets are where they need to be, notifying you via email or text message when movement is detected anytime, anywhere. You can also follow your assets on Google Maps at anytime on your phone or on your computer.

SPOT Trace features include:

  • Tracking. View your asset’s GPS coordinates from your smartphone or online
  • Movement Alerts. Receive texts/emails when SPOT’s vibration sensor detects your asset has new movement
  • Dock Mode. Configure your device to track an asset that is primarily stored on the water
  • Power Off Message. Receive a notification if your device is powered off
  • Low Battery Message. Receive a notification when the device’s batteries are low
  • Status Message. Receive a once per day alert to let you know your asset is secure
  • Multiple Mounting Options. Mount your SPOT Trace in a variety of ways
  • Small and Durable. Use it practically anywhere
  • Long Battery Life. Up to 18 months of battery life
  • Customized Tracking Options to Fit Your Needs. Select the rate at which tracking updates are sent - every 2 ½, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes
  • User Friendly. Simple to set up and easy to use

You can find out more about the SPOT Trace and pre-order yours by clicking here.

Inmarsat announce IsatPhone 2

The 2nd generation IsatPhone handset will offer tracking, an emergency button and pageability will be available at the end of March.

IsatPhone 2

IsatPhone 2 will be available from the end of March 2014

IsatPhone 2 will target the higher end of the satphone market. A slimmer handset with a high-quality feel, it has additional features and functionality over IsatPhone Pro, such as tracking, an emergency button and pageability.

Offered at a higher price point than IsatPhone Pro, it will still deliver excellent value. The new phone is expected to particularly appeal to end-users looking to upgrade from an outdated existing satphone.

Meanwhile, IsatPhone Pro will continue to be marketed as the lower-cost satphone option.

With two phones, differentiated by price and performance, our voice portfolio will allow you to attract customers in two very diverse markets.

 

We will shortly add information on the IsatPhone 2 to our website, contact us to be added to our IsatPhone 2 Mailing List.

Thuraya Launches Vehicular IP Broadband Terminal

Thuraya Telecommunications has launched its first dedicated vehicular IP broadband terminal.

Designed and manufactured by Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions, Thuraya IP Voyager is a cost-effective, high-quality satellite terminal designed for end-users in the government, oil and gas, media, and relief sectors. It is the only terminal available in the market capable of achieving streaming IP rates of up to 384 kbps as well as user-definable asymmetric streaming.

Thuraya-IP-Voyager

Randy Roberts, Vice President of Innovation at Thuraya said: “Reliable connectivity and mobility are essential for users who need to communicate with their field teams and to file reports while on-the-move. The Thuraya IP Voyager broadens our Land IP portfolio and is part of our strategy to give end-users the power of choice when it comes to having high-quality, reliable connections at competitive prices, no matter where they are.”

Thuraya IP Voyager enables remote users to collaborate reliably and efficiently using video, data and VoIP services to achieve mission-critical tasks in areas that are not served by terrestrial communication networks. It is designed to connect at IP broadband speeds of up to 444 kbps while on-the-move and includes a built-in Wi-Fi access point as well as four Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports to connect multiple wired devices.

Asher Faredi, Product Manager of Land Data at Thuraya said: “Many parts of the world remain unconnected by terrestrial networks. In developing the Thuraya IP Voyager, we listened closely to our customers to understand their needs and we were able to design a robust “comms-on-the-move” terminal that it is easy to install and facilitates real productivity in the field. There is an opportunity in the land vehicular terminal market, which is now being addressed with the Thuraya IP Voyager.”

GTC will have pricing available shortly for the Thuraya IP Voyager.

 

 

Globalstar Home Zone Extended to Include North America

Since it’s launch last month the Globalstar pre-paid service has proven to be very popular offering rates as low as 47p per minute.

The service has now been improved even further as users can now make calls with their pre-paid service in North America.

Globalstar Pre-Paid Coverage Map

Globalstar Pre-Paid Coverage Map

To take advantage of the Globalstar pre-paid service you need a GSP-1600, GSP-1700 (just £250 ex VAT!) or GSP-2900 handset.  Then simply choose from one of the great value pay as you options available and you are ready to make calls wherever your travels take you.  The current pre-paid options available are:

Globalstar-PrepaidContact us today on 01202 801290 if you have any questions on the Globalstar pre-paid service.

 

 

How to call emergency numbers from your Sat Phone

Satellite phones can provide an essential means of communication when you find yourself outside of mobile phone network coverage. Whilst we hope that you will never find yourself in the position where you need to make a call to the emergency services it is always better to be safe than sorry and so here is our guide to making emergency phone calls from your satellite phone.

We also highly recommend that all sat phone users manually store emergency numbers in their phonebook where possible.

If you have an Iridium satellite phone:

  1. Iridium-9575-ExtremeYou will need to obtain the full international access code, country code, and phone number for the local fire, police, or ambulance depending upon the nature of the emergency and store it in your contacts.
  2. Power on your Iridium handset.
  3. Extend the antenna towards the open sky.
  4. Confirm proper registration and signal strength on the display
  5. Dial the local emergency number (911 in the United States/ 000 or 112 in Mainland Australia) and press the green send key.
  6. Verbally report the situation and your location to the operator for assistance.

Note: The Iridium service does not provide enhanced emergency calling service which automatically identifies your location.

If you have an Inmarsat satellite phone:

  1. You will need to obtain the full international access code, country code, and phone number for the local fire, police, or ambulance depending upon the nature of the emergency and store it in your contacts.
  2. Inmarsat-IsatPhone-ProPower on your Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro.
  3. Extend the antenna towards the open sky.
  4. Check your phone is connected to the satellite network and Inmarsat is displayed at the top left of the screen.
  5. Ensure that your phone has a GPS fix and the GPS fix required icon is not displayed.
  6. Dial the local emergency number (911 or 112 in the United States/ 000 or 112 in Mainland Australia) and press the green key.
  7. Verbally report the situation and your location to the operator for assistance.

Note: If you are within the United States you can also select Menu>Contacts>Emergency Numbers.

If you have a Thuraya satellite phone:

  1. thuraya-xt-dualYou will need to obtain the full international access code, country code, and phone number for the local fire, police, or ambulance depending upon the nature of the emergency and store it in your contacts.
  2. Power on your Thuraya phone.
  3. Extend the antenna towards the open sky.
  4. Confirm signal strength on the display.
  5. Dial the local emergency number and press the centre key.
  6. Verbally report the situation and your location to the operator for assistance.

Note: If your SIM card is not valid or roaming is not possible you can press the right soft key and dial the relevant emergency number. Emergency calls are permitted without entering a PIN code.

If you have a Globalstar satellite phone:

  1. You will need to obtain the full international access code, country code, and phone number for the local fire, police, or ambulance Globalstar-GSP-1700depending upon the nature of the emergency and store it in your contacts.
  2. Power on your Globalstar phone.
  3. Extend the antenna towards the open sky.
  4. Confirm signal strength on the display.
  5. Dial the local emergency number (911 in the United States, 112 in Europe) and press the call key.
  6. Verbally report the situation and your location to the operator for assistance.

Note: When making emergency calls, no special conditions apply.