Happy 1st Birthday to the IsatPhone 2!

isatphone-2-in-use-20141015005-1200x801As the IsatPhone 2 is now a year old we take a look at the features of Inmarsat’s newest handset along with some recent updates to the handset.

IsatPhone Pro, IsatPhone 2’s predecessor,  was a very popular handset at a great price. However, the needs of sat phone users have evolved, and the IsatPhone 2 is a great solution to those requirements:

  • Always contactable: Users can receive notification of inbound calls, even with the antenna stowed
  • Location and tracking services: Safety and security on the move with GPS tracking and location services and an assistance button compatible with our www.GTCTrack.com Mapping service
  • Robust handset: Engineered to withstand the most extreme situations your customers encounter, IsatPhone 2 operates at -20° to +55°, has humidity tolerance up to 95 per cent, and is dust, splash and shock resistant (IP65, IK04).
  • Connect when you need it: Network registration in under 45 seconds, IsatPhone 2 enables your customers to connect quickly and easily.
  • Unrivalled battery life: 8 hours of talk time and up to 160 hours standby.

New Feature: GEOS emergency service

Increasingly, safety and security are paramount concerns amongst purchasers of satellite phones, who often work in isolated or volatile areas, so from 02 February, all post-paid IsatPhone 2 customers will be able to access worldwide emergency response services from GEOS, free-of-charge.

See our blog article Life-saving GEOS emergency response service added to IsatPhone 2

Life-saving GEOS emergency response service added to IsatPhone 2

isatphone-2-in-use-20141015005-1200x801Inmarsat will now offer complimentary access to GEOS’ Worldwide Emergency Response Coordination service to all post-paid customers.

Pre-pay customers can also access the service by paying an annual fee of $17.95 to GEOS.

The service can be accessed by pressing the assistance button on top of the handset.  This will then send the user’s GPS co-ordinates via satellite to GEOS.

The GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) was founded in November 2007 with the culmination of various 24/7 monitoring centers that individually focused on travel safety, security services and monitoring for clients. Staffed, equipped and prepared to respond worldwide with the push of a button, an automatic emergency alert or a simple phone call, the mission of the GEOS IERCC is to aid in the rescue of all savable lives whether at land, air or sea. The center receives the alert and notifies the appropriate authorities to execute the SAR mission and maintains a liaison with the family, first responders, and in some instances, a user’s embassy, keeping all parties up to date with new position information, updated medical information and any other pertinent data until the mission or call is resolved.

Other Satellite Devices which use GEOS:

Have questions on how the Emergency Response service works? Leave a comment below or contact us on +44 1202 801290

 

Alex Hibbert begins his epic journey through the North West Passage

Alex Hibbert is the world record-holding polar traveller who has skied further on an unsupported Arctic journey than anyone in history.

HibbertIn the winter of 2015 and not due to finish until the start of summer, three men will travel one of the most iconic polar routes: The North West Passage. Alex Hibbert and his team will ski, walk and swim 1800 miles fully unsupported (no resupplies or power-assistance) across a treacherous terrain of sea ice! This is the longest ever journey both man-powered or unsupported.

The team knew that the unpredictable nature of the sea ice would mean that they would need a reliable form of communication at all times and so we supplied the Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone. The Iridium Extreme offers emergency SOS with notification services and works anywhere in the world so the team know that they can call for help if they ever find themselves in danger.

The team will begin in the east after preparing in a Canadian Inuit settlement and take a a northern route through the passage, changing direction in the Bylot Island region. Reflecting the unpredictable nature of the sea ice, the team will then choose a suitable path to the west and complete their journey beyond the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

a northern route through the passage, changing direction in the Bylot Island region. Reflecting the unpredictable nature of the sea ice, the team will then choose a suitable path to the west and complete their journey beyond the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

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

 

 GTCTrack-AppGTCTrack

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-AppXGate

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: http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/satphone/SpeedMail-Email-&-Web-Compression.html

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!

 

 

Global Telesat Communications to support record attempt for Fastest Human Powered Circumnavigation

Lap-The-World-Boat

The 28ft ocean rowing boat will carry five people on board 3,500 miles! Picture courtesy of Sam Greatrex/Lap The World

We are pleased to be supporting Sam Greatrex from Lap The World in the next leg of his attempt to break the record for the fastest Human Powered Circumnavigation.

The second leg of the journey sees Sam and his team rowing 3,500 miles from Lagos, Portugal to Guyana across the North Atlantic Ocean.  On this trip alone the opportunity to break 4 Guinness World records exists including the fastest crossing from mainland Europe to mainland South America.  During the journey the team will carry an Iridium satellite phone and Iridium GO! to keep in contact with the team back home and obtain weather reports.

Aside from breaking records Sam aims to raise £240,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Macmillan is a cause close to Sam who was diagnosed with cancer in 1995.  He says “It’s always been an ambition of mine to do something really meaningful for Macmillan Cancer Support after they helped me recover from cancer.”  This amount would be enough to build a chemotherapy suite in a hospital – of the target Sam says “The circumference of earth is 24,000 miles and if we raise £10 for each mile of that journey, we’ll hit the target and help people diagnosed with cancer in the UK have access to the same level of care that I was fortunate to receive.”

Help Sam by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/laptheworld/

Read more about Sam’s Circumnavigation at http://www.laptheworld.com/

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!

End of production for IsatPhone Pro

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As manufacture of the IsatPhone Pro comes to an end we discuss the future for users of the handsets and alternative sat phones on the market.

In 2010, IsatPhone Pro was launched marking Inmarsat’s entry into the global handheld satphone market. Now, after four successful years, Inmarsat is announcing the end of production for IsatPhone Pro.

Although Inmarsat have stopped manufacturing IsatPhone Pro, GTC currently still hold stock of the handset so please contact us if you wish to place an order.

With the end of manufacture of the handset will also come a stop to production of the accessories.  We also hold these in stock, please see our range of IsatPhone Pro accessories if you wish to place an order.

Inmarsat will continue to provide customer support and firmware upgrades to correct critical issues that may arise with IsatPhone Pro products in the field until further notice. As a reminder, IsatPhone Pro handsets must be upgraded to firmware v 5.3.0 or higher by 30 November 2014 to ensure continuation of service.

Visit GTC Support for instructions on how to upgrade your IsatPhone Pro.

What are the alternative sat phones on the market?

IsatPhone 2

IsatPhone 2

Inmarsat IsatPhone 2

Of course the Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 is a great alternative to the IsatPhone Pro – with all the same voice and SMS features the IsatPhone 2 comes with the added bonus of a built in GPS tracker.

The GPS tracking can be combined with our GTCTrack mapping to enable detailed monitoring of the user.

With global coverage excluding the poles the IsatPhone 2 is a great all in one device for the global traveller.

IsatPhone 2 pricing starts from £520 ex VAT.

Globalstar GSP-1700

One advantage of the IsatPhone handsets is the affordable cost of airtime and handsets.  Looking to other satellite networks Globalstar also offers an excellent value for money sat phone, the GSP-1700.

GlobalstarWith inclusive plans offering voice and data calls for as little as €0.15 per minute, the lowest handset prices in the market and the only 2nd generation satellite constellation, Globalstar satellite phones are hard to beat.

The Globalstar GSP-1700 is great for customers demanding quick connection times, excellent satellite voice quality and fastest low-band data speeds at an affordable and highly competitive price.

Globalstar satellite phones were the choice of the organisers of the Tour de France 2014 who used the phones during the UK leg to stay connected.

Globalstar sat phone prices start from just £225 ex VAT.

IsatHub

Inmarsat’s latest product – IsatHub

Inmarsat IsatHub

For those looking to the latest gadgets the IsatHub is also a great alternative to a satellite phone.  Also in the Inmarsat family of products IsatHub is a revolutionary new device which allows you to connect your normal mobile phone or tablet via WiFi in order to make and receive calls, texts and browse the internet via satellite.

IsatHub has just been launched and we are one of a few retailers to currently hold stock.  Contact us to place an order or see our blog The Inmarsat IsatHub Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot Has Arrived for further information on the device.

As always we would like to answer any questions you may have on the end of life of the IsatPhone or any of the products mentioned above.

IsatPhone 2 Firmware 01.04.01

IsatPhone 2IsatPhone 2 firmware version 01.04.01 is released and available for download now.

Follow the link below to download: http://www.inmarsat.com/support/isatphone-2-support/

Firmware version 01.04.01 supersedes the firmware version 01.00.00 that was released in March 2014 at the time of the product launch by Inmarsat.

Recommendations for installation
This is a recommended firmware upgrade, meaning that the features introduced by the firmware are important but not critical for the GSPS service including the network and the IsatPhone 2 handset.

Pre-requisites for installation and advice after installation
In order to upgrade the handset’s firmware you must have a PC running Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista or XP. The latest version of USB drivers and IsatPhone 2’s firmware upgrade tool must be installed. These can be found in the Inmarsat Support website by visiting http://www.inmarsat.com/support/isatphone-2-support/

Please read the installation guides for the firmware upgrade tool and USB drivers which are also downloadable from the website.

Installing IsatPhone 2 firmware 01.04.01

To install IsatPhone 2 firmware 01.04.01:

  1. Ensure that USB drivers and the firmware upgrade tool are installed on your PC
  2. Double click on Inmarsat’s firmware upgrade tool and follow on screen instructions.

The firmware upgrade will take approximately between 7 and 12 minutes. After installation, you can check the firmware version by switching on the phone and selecting Menu > Settings > About > Firmware version

Fixes and enhancements in this release
Important enhancements:

  • Introduction of a new air interface encryption scheme to improve the security of communications between the IsatPhone 2 and the GSPS ground network
  • Various enhancements to the MMI

Important fixes:

  • Resolution of a bug that could cause the battery to discharge when the power button is pressed for a very short period of time while the IsatPhone 2 is powered down.
  • Removes the requirement for a manual work around in situations where a brand new or never before used IsatPhone 2 handset fails to register with the network.
  • Resolution of some rare cases of MMI inconsistencies in call and message alerting when the antenna is stowed.
  • Resolution of rare bugs which could cause the IsatPhone 2 to continually restart, hang, or require a reboot during satellite search, while dialling, or during calls..
  • Resolution of bugs that could occur if and when new GSPS gateways are introduced into the network

Globalstar Expanding Simplex Service to Southern Africa

Globalstar today announced that, in partnership with Broadband Botswana Internet (BBi), construction has commenced on a Globalstar gateway in Gaborone, Botswana.globalstar 1 This gateway will provide Globalstar’s full line of Simplex services, including its SPOT line of affordable personal tracking and life-saving solutions, as well as its line of commercial Simplex tracking and monitoring solutions. Globalstar anticipates that this gateway will be operational by the end of this year and will provide coverage across southern Africa, including the following countries and surrounding blue-ocean areas: Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia. The gateway significantly extends Globalstar’s coverage in sub-Saharan Africa and will allow Globalstar to provide a near-global service offering for SPOT and Simplex services.

Sub-Saharan Africa represents a significant new market opportunity and will serve a region with increasing demands for affordable connectivity. With a limited wireline telecommunications network and a highly fragmented cellular infrastructure, Globalstar’s satellite services provide a compelling solution for seamless tracking, monitoring and emergency services. Globalstar will initially target mining and oil & gas applications, personal assets, commercial trucking and animal tracking markets.

Globalstar“We believe that southern Africa is a significant untapped market for our traditional MSS solutions and we thank our partner at BBi for all of their efforts to make this opportunity a reality,” said Jay Monroe, Chairman and CEO of Globalstar. “Whether you are going to southern Africa on a safari, work assignment, or to perform humanitarian work, the ability to let your friends, family or colleagues know that you are “ok”, or to summon emergency assistance if you are not, will be only a button-push away. Additionally, for the first time, people and industries in the local area will have access to affordable satellite solutions for personal and asset tracking and we look forward to bringing this service live in just a few months.”

Spotlight on Beam : Lower pricing on docks for your Iridium and Inmarsat satellite phones now available

BEAM-logo2

We offer a wide range of BEAM products on our website to allow you to use your satellite phone at sea, in your vehicle or office and our pricing has now been updated to offer you even better value. Our BEAM range includes satellite phone docks, antennas and cable kits and more with prices starting from as little as £55 ex VAT.

BEAM-IsatDock-Marine (2)Beam Communications was established by World Reach in 2002, making a substantial investment in the development and manufacturing of Remote Satellite Communications solutions for the global telecommunications market. Beam prides itself on its ability to develop a broad spectrum of market applications and dedicated products, tailored to the needs of vertical markets and industry specific applications throughout the world.

Beam was the first company to design and manufacture a fully compliant POTS emulation phone service for the Iridium Satellite network using its Remote Satellite Terminals. Now one of the leading global manufacturers of satellite communication equipment, Beam offers the widest range of Iridium solutions across all market segments.

If you would like some more information call us on 0800 112 3919 to discuss your requirements.