Iridium help Benegas Brothers Reach Remote Villages in Nepal

Nepal011Guillermo (Willie) and Damian Benegas are twin brothers from Patagonia who run Benegas Brothers Expeditions and take groups on expeditions and adventures all over the world. They were guiding a group on Everest earlier this year when disaster struck – the first earthquake hit Nepal and they quickly set up a rescue project called “Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery”. The project was established to provide aid to remote villages all over Nepal through a system of local porters who delivered food and supplies to some of the worst affected areas. They needed a reliable form of communication to provide logistical support and chose the Iridium Pilot Satellite Terminal. The terminal also provided a hugely appreciated form of communication for locals who were desperate to hear from loved ones for the first time since the earthquake. Willie explains just how vital the terminal was:

“One of the key elements of this project, ‘Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery,’ that has enabled us to succeed is access to a reliable communication system. During our planning and organization, Iridium provided us with the Iridium Pilot Land Station, which allowed us to set up quickly for deployment in a remote location. Powered by the Iridium® global satellite network, the equipment gave us the ability to communicate worldwide with our logistics partners, enabling real-time updates on weather conditions and ETA of supplies. But beyond the technical aspects of our project, and even more importantly, the Iridium Pilot Land Station provided the village of Laprak with a means to communicate with loved ones who had been separated since the first earthquake on April 25th.

I have been using satellite modems and telephones for years in my job as an Everest mountain guide. I have to say that this unit far exceeded my expectations. We have three Iridium Extreme satellite phones with us as well, which have allowed us to create an invaluable network with access to communication 24/7. To get the project off the ground, we were sending guides on remote, exploratory missions to other villages where we are trying to provide relief in the most extreme terrain. Knowing that they were equipped with these reliable tools gave us an incredible peace of mind. We knew that if anything went wrong they could contact us immediately in an emergency situation, and we would be able to respond with help. As of today, we’ve moved 20 metric tons of relief supplies to remote areas of Nepal through our system of hired porters and are continually working to move supplies to all the villages above Laprak. This project will take at least one more month, with a goal to provide enough supplies to last local communities three months.

Nepal022In the end, I am the most grateful for one particular moment that will stay with me forever: seeing the smile of a mother who was finally able to talk to her son who had been air-lifted to Kathmandu. For 20 days, she had no form of communication with him and, as a result, no idea if he was even alive. To see her smile and her eyes shining when she heard his voice again for the first time was amazing. I am so grateful to Iridium for the support they’ve provided to us through equipment and connectivity, but the locals in Laprak must be the most thankful. In so many ways, Iridium has provided a truly critical lifeline to the people of Nepal.” – Guillermo (Willie) Benegas, Benegas Brothers Expeditions

We offer satellite broadband terminal rentals and also have a wide variety of terminal options available to buy. If you are interested in purchasing or renting a satellite terminal please take a look at our website or give us a call to discuss your requirements on 0800 112 3919.

A New Way to Connect: Rent the Explorer 510 BGAN Terminal

If you have a short-term need for a satellite terminal why not take a look at our terminalExplorer_510 rental range? The Explorer 510 BGAN terminal is now available to rent for just £7 per day!

The lightweight Thrane & Thrane Explorer 510 is ultra-portable and easy to use, offering users high quality voice and broadband access at speeds up to 464 kbps all over the globe excluding the poles.

Why rent an Explorer 510 Terminal from GTC?

  • Portable: it’s smaller than a standard laptop and weighs less than 1.4 kg
  • Easy to set up and operate: you can be online in minutes and we offer full technical support if needed
  • Fast Data Speeds: 464 kbps offers the performance you need to stay connected
  • Wireless Connectivity: EXPLORER Connect App turns your smartphone or tablet into powerful satellite communications tools
  • Reliable Connectivity: keep connected across the entire globe excluding the poles
  • Rugged: IP66 rating and Magnesium casing
  • Easy to Rent: you can book your rental online or give us a call

If you’d like to find out more or place your rental order today please click here or give us a call on 0800 112 3919.

IsatHub Firmware Released

IsatHubInmarsat have released firmware version 01.0.2 for the Wideye iSavi IsatHub Land Portable Terminal which is now available to download from the GTC Support Site.

This is a recommended firmware upgrade including improvements to existing services such as:

  • Improved call handling
  • Improved battery charging/discharging management
  • Improved satellite pointing algorithm
  • General bug fixes

If you have any questions during your firmware upgrade please call us on +44 1202 801290.

Download IsatHub Firmware Version 01.0.2

Our pick of the best satellite communications apps

Combine the increase in popularity of new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Satellite products such as Iridium GO! and IsatHub with existing favourites such as the Thuraya SatSleeve and you will soon see there are a number of Apps now available to make communication easier in remote locations.

We take look at the most popular satellite communications apps below.


Thuraya-SatSleeve-AppThuraya SatSleeve

The popular SatSleeve from Thuraya enables you to transform your smartphone into a sat phone with the help of a clever satellite phone adapter.  The SatSleeve app allows you to make and receive calls on your smartphone even when not in range of normal mobile phone networks.  SatSleeve even allows you to use popular apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and send/receive SMS.  Phones that can take advantage of this product include iPhone 4/4s/5/5s/6 and Samsung Galaxy S3/4/5.

Available on: iOS and Android

Price: Free

Equipment Required: Thuraya SatSleeve

View the Thuraya SatSleeve App on iTunes / View the Thuraya SatSleeve App on Google Play



Our very own app has a multitude of uses. It can be used to track movement of the smartphone it is installed on or alternatively be used to monitor and manage a range of satellite and GSM assets which are compatible with the device.  Another handy feature is the ability to send and receive messages from assets on the account.

Available on: iOS and Android

Price: App Free. Monthly Fee applies

View the GTCTrack App on iTunes / View the GTCTrack App on Google Play


 IsatHub-AppIsatHub Apps

The IsatHub Apps from Inmarsat enable you to use your smartphone or tablet to make and receive calls, SMS and browse the internet over Inmarsat’s global satellite network with the IsatHub.  The Voice app is simple and easy to use while the Control app allows you to fine tune the settings to your own requirements.The Control app also shows you where to point the IsatHub in order to obtain the best signal.

Available on: iOS and Android

Price: Free

Equipment Required: Inmarsat IsatHub

View the IsatHub Voice App on iTunes / View the IsatHub Voice App on Google Play

View the IsatHub Control App on iTunes / View the IsatHub Control App on Google Play


 BGAN-Pointer-AppBGAN Pointer

A firm favourite in the GTC office the BGAN Pointer app is a great tool for use not only with Inmarsat BGAN terminals but Inmarsat handsets as well.  This handy app shows you in which direction the nearest Inmarsat satellite is located using the camera on your phone.  You can then point the equipment in that direction to obtain the best signal.  It is particularly helpful for new users to identify what might obstruct the line of sight to the Inmarsat satellites.

Available on: iOS

View the BGAN Pointer App on iTunes


Iridium-GO!-AppIridium GO! & Iridium Mail

As with the IsatHub there are two apps available for the Iridium GO! In this case one is used to make and receive phone calls and the other is an easy way to send and receive emails via satellite.  The Iridium Mail app uses XGate technology (see below) to optimise the time spent making a data connection.  This app works well with Weather 4D Pro allowing sailing users to obtain GRIB files.

Available on: iOS and Android

Price: Free

Equipment Required: Iridium GO!

View the Iridium GO! App on iTunes / View the Iridium GO! App on Google Play

View the Iridium Mail & Web App on iTunes / View the Iridium Mail & Web App on Google Play



XGate is the easy way to access email through a satellite connection.  The app compresses the data sent and received offering up to 85% savings on satellite airtime expenses.  It also blocks out other unnecessary data use by the phone to avoid a large bill at the end of your trip!

Available on: iOS and Android

Price: App free with Annual Subscription:

Equipment Required: Any satellite phone or terminal with RedPort Optimiser to enable WiFi connection

View the XGate App on iTunes / View the XGate App on Google Play


Do you have a favourite app that works with your satellite communications products? Let us know in the comments below!



Satellite Phone, Tracker, WiFi Hotspot and BGAN rental from GTC

When you need satellite communications on a short term basis only our rental service is a flexible option with satellite phones, trackers and internet terminals available to rent with a minimum term of just 7 days and charges from just £4 per day.

We like to offer our customers flexibility so our daily charges don’t include minutes or messages you might not end up using – if you know you will be using the phone we offer pre-paid minutes from just 80p per minute.

Here at GTC we pride ourselves on customer service and are here to answer your questions on our rental services.  Furthermore with then wide range of equipment available here at our offices in Poole we can offer next day delivery within the UK. Need it quicker?! Let us know and we can obtain a same day delivery quote.

Satellite Phone Rental

satellite-phone-rentalWe can provide rental services for single users or those in need of multiple phones.  We offer phones from Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya and Globalstar all of which have benefits depending on which region you are travelling to.

Satellite Phones are great for voice calls, they do have a slow data connection but we do not normally advise using the handsets for this purpose.  If you need a data connection please look at Satellite Terminal/WiFi Hotspot Rental below.

One of most exciting satellite phone rentals to date was providing 100 Globalstar phones for use on the UK leg of the Tour De France 2014!

Read more about the rental phones provided for Tour De France 2014

Satellite Tracker Rental

satellite-tracker-rentalFor those just requiring tracking services we offer the popular DeLorme inReach SE.  Rental customers get their own MapShare page which allows followers back home to keep track of the user’s location and send messages to the device.  This device enables the user to send out automatic tracking points as well as custom text and email messages.

Satellite Terminal / Satellite WiFi Hotspot Rental

Isathub-rentalWhile satellite phones are great for voice services the data speeds offered are a little slower than what we are used to these days! If you require email or internet access then a BGAN terminal or WiFi hotspot is the option for you.

BGAN terminals need to connect directly to a laptop while WiFi hotspots pair with your existing smartphone or tablet to provide voice and data services.

Read more about Satellite WiFi Hotspot Rental

GTC-01-010For further information on our rental service please contact our Rental Administrator, Nicholas Stedmon on 01202 801290 who will be happy to answer your questions!

The Inmarsat IsatHub Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot Has Arrived

Imagine a new service from Inmarsat that will enable your smart phone or tablet to work seamlessly, anywhere on the planet*, completely independent of cellular or fixed networks.IsatHub, available now, enables you to talk, text, and access the Internet on your smart device, anywhere inside – or outside – the coverage of cellular or terrestrial comms, with one global tariff.We all know how much we depend on our smart devices for work, pleasure, and keeping in touch with friends and family. Empowering you to stay in touch wherever you go, this new service represents a significant step-change in your own personal connectivity, worldwide.IsatHub will enable yoIsatHub2u to continue to use your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet beyond the reach of cellular or terrestrial networks. The service is accessed via an app on your device, which connects to a new, low-cost terminal, smaller than an ipad.

You will feel empowered knowing you can talk, text and access the internet with your personal or work smart devices wherever you go. In some sectors this will prove to be part of everyday life, such as, journalists who rely on social media and other digital channels to update their readers on news as it happens.

And of IsatHubcourse, using data speeds of up to 384kbps and an unrivalled network availability of 99.9 per cent, no other mobile satellite operator can offer this level of performance and reliability for smart device connectivity.

* Coverage is over the global Inmarsat-4 satellite network, which excludes extreme polar regions

The IsatHub is available to buy now for just £795.00 ex VAT


WiFi Winston brings internet access to remote Africa

BGAN is helping remote African communities to experience the internet for the first time via a vehicle named WiFi Winston.WiFi-Winston

The four-by-four is showcasing the power of connectivity using an Explorer 325 BGAN vehicular terminal, helping underserved communities to see how their lives and work opportunities can be enhanced with internet access.

Winston is three months through a planned nine-month long journey across the country and East Africa, providing free WiFi within a 50 metre radius at each stop.

WiFi for education

The initiative is part of Project Isizwe, a non-profit organization, which aims to bring the internet to communities through free WiFi for public spaces, with a core focus on connectedness for education.

It also aims to encourage local governments to introduce WiFi, helping it to plan, roll-out and maintain free networks.

“Inmarsat’s connectivity is absolutely instrumental to the project. Without connectivity we’re selling the dream without showing them what the dream is,” said Gerrit Scholtz, Winston’s ‘pilot’.

Increase opportunities

“The feedback we’ve been getting back has given us a snapshot of how connectivity can improve people’s life chances in terms of education as well as health and job opportunities. Most commonly people have said they would use WiFi to read more and learn.

“Amazingly the kids wanted to see photos of Nelson Mandela’s funeral. I was almost taken aback when they asked and their enthusiasm to know more about the event was incredibly heartwarming.”

He added: “A few communities have indicated that they would like to take our initial conversations around free WiFi further. Both national and provincial government have placed broadband strategies in place and we’re there to help fulfil their obligations.”

Social media

Inmarsat’s BGAN also enables Project Isizwe to update social media and increase awareness about WiFi Winston through Twitter and Instagram.

James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s Head of Government Affairs, said: “Project Isizwe seeks to eliminate the market failure for connectivity by showcasing the possibilities to excluded communities and creating groundswell demand. The attributes of Inmarsat connectivity – easy to use, very reliable, high availability network – are each advantaged by this project.”

Project Isizwe was founded by e-entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig, founder of Ever Africa which sells eCommerce, games, education, eBooks and telecoms in Africa.

Inmarsat BGAN helps deliver healthcare to remote areas in two innovative cases

BGAN satellite broadband is being used to improve high mortality rates and maternity care in the Amazon and West Africa.

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

In the Amazon where one in ten mothers and their babies die before their 1st birthday, Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is using BGAN in the region’s first ever eHealth network.  The network allows health professionals to provide pre-natal, birth and post-natal care at four isolated health centres – improving the diagnosis and care of around 40,000 mothers and their babies.

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

TSF installed the Cobham SATCOM Explorer 700 terminals after training technicians and health professionals at the health centres spread over the Rio Negro region in the north-west of the rainforest.

Using the terminals, midwives will be able to consult with other healthcare specialists at the main clinic in the town of São Gabriel da Cachoeira to remotely monitor and diagnose conditions.

An eHealth project using Inmarsat’s BGAN in Gabon, West Africa has shown how people living in a remote rainforest can benefit greatly from telemedicine.  The project used a BGAN terminal to transmit ultrasound images to doctors at a local hospital and to Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, where they could consult with patients in real-time.

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Mathieu Forgues, a Harvard medical student, used a battery-powered VSee Telemedicine Field Kit alongside the BGAN terminal which comprises of an iPad, diagnostic tools and medical devices such as ultrasound equipment. It provides high-quality video across four camera feeds, allowing doctors to see the patient and real-time medical images and readings when connected to the internet via BGAN.

Mathieu travelled 50 minutes by boat from the local hospital, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, to two remote villages where he carried out ultrasound chest and ear check-ups on children.  The images were then relayed to Dr Jean-Daniels at Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which serves a large catchment of up to 60 villages.  Mathieu said: “For many villagers, especially children, this is the only chance they will have to see a doctor because there may be only one paediatrician in the area.”

Becky Wai, VSee’s Director of Medical Services, said: “Inmarsat plays an essential role in extending medical services, remote health consultations or online health education and training to rural and remote areas that are otherwise without the internet.

“The BGAN terminal is small enough to put it in a backpack and it’s ready to use in less than a minute when in the field. There’s no complicated set-up and configuration – just pressing a few buttons.

“During the two trial visits to the village, Inmarsat was 100 per cent reliable, offering all needed services to link remote medical teams to city-based doctors.”

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.


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.



Iridium Introduce the Iridium GO!

Iridium have announced a brand new product that can turn your smartphone or tablet into a global communications device capable of making reliable voice calls and data connections – anywhere in the world – even when outside of the range of terrestrial networks!

Iridium GO!

The fully portable Iridium GO! is a pocket sized device, with military-grade ruggedness and an IP rating of IP65, that enables you to use your smartphone or tablet when you have no access to terrestrial networks to:

  • make voice calls
  • share photos
  • access emails
  • SMS two-way
  • use applications
  • use GPS tracking
  • access social network sites
  • send out SOS alerts

Simply flip up the integrated antenna and the battery-powered unit will connect quickly and automatically to the Iridium LEO satellite constellation to create an anywhere Wi-Fi hotspot within a 30.5m radius.

You can then connect and operate up to 5 devices at a time within this area using the ‘Iridium GO! application’. Iridium have said that the Iridium GO! will be “supported by affordable plans that keep voice and data costs reasonable” with low-end service plans expected to start at around $35 a month, with unlimited plans at around $130 a month.

You will be able to purchase the Iridium GO! from our website soon but please click here to receive updates on availability.