Polar Expedition Leader Alex Hibbert discusses his satellite communications set-up

Polar-LandscapeAlex-HibbertAlex Hibbert is a world record-holding polar traveller who has skied further on an unsupported Arctic journey than anyone in history.  He relies on a variety of Iridium satellite comms devices provided by GTC to keep in touch in the harsh environments he encounters.

We spoke to Alex about his use of satellite phones and find out how he applauds GTC for their “no-nonsense approach” to customer service.

“Just one example of GTC's support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

“Just one example of GTC’s support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

When did you first begin to use satellite phones?

“By the time I launched myself into the expedition world in the late 2000s, satellite communications were very much in command; traditional radios had been outdated and replaced. Nonetheless, early models were simple in design, far behind even the fledgling mobile phones of the time, expensive and with glitches.”

How did your relationship with GTC develop?

“I began as a customer of GTC in 2011, attracted by their keen pricing and no-nonsense approach to customer service. If I needed a straight answer to a question that had major safety ramifications, I knew I’d get it. Handsets came and went over the years, and data solutions started appearing. A few years ago GTC formalised its support of my projects and vice versa – grown in the way sponsorships should be: from a long accumulation of trust and excellent performance and not due to being the highest bidder.”

Alex uses the Iridium Extreme to keep in touch on his Polar expeditions

Alex uses the Iridium Extreme to keep in touch on his Polar expeditions

What satellite communications equipment do you currently use?

“My current outfit is the Iridium 9575 Extreme and AxcessPoint for data (with a second AxcessPoint and 9555 handset for redundancy). The ruggedness of the handset itself and the quality batteries (critical on long journeys) combines with a far more reliable Iridium satellite network than transpired in the past.”

How will you change your communications set-up as technology advances?

“As the next generation of Iridium appears, with the GO! data terminal and its replacements to take advantage of long-awaited fast Iridium data bandwidth, I will entrust GTC to make sure I stay connected. Just one example of their support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

Find our more about Alex at www.alexhibbert.com

Thuraya announce expansion of SatSleeve range with Thuraya SatSleeve+ and SatSleeve Hotspot


Thuraya have announced two new additions to the popular SatSleeve range – a range of accessories which allow you turn your smartphone into a satellite phone.  SatSleeve+ and SatSleeve Hotspot join SatSleeve for Android and SatSleeve for iOS launched in 2013.

SatSleeve+ comes with a universal smartphone adapter, broadening its appeal to a larger number of smartphone owners than was previously possible.  The adapter also allows users to switch between handsets,so owners of more than one smartphone do not need to buy additional kit.  It also features a new and improved voice routing system that broadcasts the call directly from the smartphone.

SatSleeve Hotspot’s stand creates a portable satellite Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing users to use their smartphones for satellite connectivity without physically docking to a unit. This feature is also ideal for those who want the freedom to make and receive calls indoors. The SatSleeve Hotspot is the smallest, lightest, and most capable in the industry.

Both models let you make calls, use messaging applications, update your social network, send and receive email and SMS, and access apps. They also come with an additional safety feature – a programmable SOS button that works even if your smartphone isn’t connected. This convenient function lets customers call a predefined number of their choice.

Iridium Push-to-Talk now available from Global Telesat Communications

Global Telesat Communications is pleased to have been approved by Iridium as an Authorized Iridium Push-to-Talk Reseller

Iridium’s Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution is the world’s first global, satellite-based push-to-talk service. It enables fast, simple, and global group communications at the push of a button, enabling instant communication between participants located anywhere on earth.

Iridium can deliver push-to-talk the way it was meant to be, without the expense and limitations of traditional ground-based towers and repeaters.

Iridium PTT Handset

Iridium PTT Handset

Iridium Push-to-Talk users will make a connection using the Iridium PTT Handset which facilitates global push-to-talk service as well as all the popular features of the Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone including voice, SMS, and GPS tracking via satellite.

The Iridium Extreme PTT has an IP65 rating which means it is dust proof, shock resistant and jet water resistant. It also offers military-grade 810F durability.

Iridium PTT Control Center

Iridium PTT Control Center

There are various airtime options for Iridium PTT depending on how many users and regions you need to use the system in.  PTT plans have just a one month minimum term and Monthly Fees start from $750 for 2 x PTT handsets operating within 100,000 km2.

See all PTT Airtime Options

Once the user has set-up their desired Talk Group Plan with GTC all Talk Group and Handset settings can be controlled directly by the user through the Iridium PTT Command Center.

Talk Groups

  • Have a Monthly Fee based upon the Size Limit
  • Can contain an unlimited number of handsets (there will be a separate monthly fee for each handset)
  • Can be set by the user in the Control Center in Circular or Rectangular areas or by using specific latitude / longitude coordinates in a list view
  • Can be split into up to 10 different coverage “regions”. There are no restrictions on where the coverage may be placed on the earth.


  • Can be assigned to a maximum of 15 Talk Groups
  • Will be charged a single Monthly Fee for PTT
  • Standard Iridium Voice & Data services will require a separate contract

Iridium Push-To-Talk can only be purchased through an Authorized Reseller who has undertaken specific PTT Training.

Contact us on 01202 801290 to discuss Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT) options to suit your requirements.

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.

Product Update: Iridium Push-to-Talk


Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

What is Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT)?

Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution is the world’s first global, satellite-based push-to-talk service. It enables fast, simple, and global group communications at the push of a button, enabling instant communication between participants located anywhere on earth.

Iridium can deliver push-to-talk the way it was meant to be, without the expense and limitations of traditional ground-based towers and repeaters.

What does the Iridium Push-to-Talk system comprise of?

The solution includes the Iridium PTT service; the Iridium Command Center, the cloud-based management system where radios and talk groups are managed; and the Iridium PTT radios, including the Iridium Extreme® PTT (MSRP $1,599) and other devices powered by the Iridium PTT 9523 Core transceiver, which enables manufacturing partners to further expand the enterprise applications for Iridium PTT.

When using PTT , the handheld device gives your team access to unparalleled situation awareness and control features, including:

  • Automatic registration
  • Over-the-air talkgroup programming
  • PTT service status
  • Dynamic talkgroup selection and monitoring
  • Device talker ID
  • Device talker distance and bearing
  • Visual and audio talkgroup scan

PTTWho would use Iridium Push-to-Talk?

Iridium PTT is applicable in every corner of the globe in every industry. It goes above and beyond current satellite and terrestrial offerings, working globally, utilizing small and portable devices, through instant connections.

Iridium improve GO! Plans to include voice calls

Good news for Iridium GO! customers – Iridium has announced improvements to the existing Iridium GO! Post-Paid Bundle plans.

Iridium GO!

Iridium GO! Hotspot allows you to use your smartphone to make phone calls via satellite

Customers on the 75 and 150 minute bundle plans can now also use voice minutes as part of those inclusive bundles.  Also customers on the Unlimited Plan can now take advantage of an additional 150 minutes of voice calls at no additional charge.  Voice calls included on these plans are to fixed and mobile numbers anywhere in the world.

These changes are effective for existing and new activations and will come into effect on 1 August.

Check out our Iridium GO! plans

Test Your Satellite Phone: Iridium SatPhone Saves Arctic Worker’s Life!


Many of our customers use their satellite phones in remote and often dangerous locations making them essential lifelines if an emergency situation were to happen. It is vital to test your satellite phone regularly to ensure that you can reach out for help if you need to. It is so quick and easy to do and it really can save your life- Fredrik Granath can vouch for that!

Fredrik Granath is a leading expert on fieldwork and production of photography and film in the Polar Regions and he fully understands that proper preparation can be key to survival as he spends a lot of time in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet.

In May 2005 Fredrik was driving his snowmobile up a hill in Svalbard when the ground disappeared beneath him and he plunged into a 20 foot crevasse. He was left with a broken back and his left arm was crushed.

“I always keep the Iridium phone close, so I was able to call for help,” he explains. After a helicopter rescue operation, extensive surgery, and half a year of rehabilitation, Fredrik was able to return to the field. “In our work,” Fredrik concludes, ”having the life line of being able to call for help is absolutely necessary.”

Fredrik’s story is not unique and any of us could find ourselves in an emergency situation of some sort and so it is critical that you test your satellite phone regularly. Iridium have set up ‘Test Your Satellite Phone’ week to help ensure your satellite phones are in proper working order. For testing tips visit www.testyoursatellitephone.com or simply dial 00-1-480-752-5105 to get started. No data rates will apply.

Thuraya Launches the World’s Most Advanced Satellite Phone: The Thuraya XT PRO

Thuraya have launched the industry’s most advanced satellite phone, the Thuraya XT-PRO.

The Thuraya XT-PRO offers:

  • XT-PRO1the longest talk-time on any satellite phone – up to 9 hours!
  • the largest display available on a satellite phone made with hardened Gorilla® glass that is glare resistant – perfect for use in bright sunlight.
  • Jet-water, dust and shock resistance – ensuring it withstands the harshest environments.
  • A dedicated SOS button with advanced navigation and tracking features for added safety.
  • all three major navigation systems – the only satellite phone to feature built-in GPS, BeiDou and Glonass for highest accuracy and added security in every region
  •  Unparalleled flexibility for government, energy, media and NGO users in all regions.

The XT-PRO is ideal for professional satellite phone users who need highly reliable connectivity in some of the world’s toughest and most remote places. It also works as a security backup when natural or man-made disasters disrupt terrestrial communications.

The XT-PRO can be used across the Thuraya network covering two thirds of the globe, including more than 160 countries and is available to buy from our website for £525 plus VAT.

Firmware version 5.8.0 now available for IsatPhone Pro

IsatPhone Pro firmware version 5.8.0 is released and available for download now.

Important: Firmware version 5.8.0 supersedes the firmware version 5.6.1.


Recommendations for installation
For users of 5.3.0 or higher this is a recommended upgrade, meaning that the features introduced by the firmware are important but not critical for the GSPS service, including the network and the IsatPhone Pro handset.


For users that who have not yet upgraded to version 5.3.0 or higher, this upgrade to 5.8.0 is considered  to be ‘mandatory’ to avoid the phone becoming non-operational.

To check you have the latest version on your IsatPhone Pro, go to Menu > Settings > About > Firmware version.

Download Firmware version 5.8.0

Make Calling Satellite Phones Cheaper and Simpler with New SatCallSaver!

Satellite phone numbers with 14+ digit numbers can be confusing to dial and difficult to remember, the expense of long distance call charges can put people off calling them and on top of that many countries and carriers restrict calling satellite phones. The good news is that we have created SatCallSaver to combat all of these issues!


SatCallSaver is a unique solution to allow satellite phone users to select one or many local phone numbers in over 50+ different countries that will terminate to their satellite phone. This provides users with a unique, easy to remember local number and provides a service similar to what they are already comfortable with.

SatCallSaverSatCallSaver also reduces call charges to satellite phones by up to 93% as you will pay calls on a “local to local” as opposed to “long distance to long distance” basis and unlike traditional landline and mobile operators SatCallSaver offers transparent up-front pricing and information on calls. Also, anyone making a call to a satellite phone will no longer be charged for international rates.

One of the many benefits of SatCallSaver is the ability to control costs. We provide real-time billing, activity reports and can integrate all your satellite related services on to one bill. You can stop all unauthorized calls with pin based access codes and save money by routing the call over the SatCallSaver global network to a satellite phone wherever in the world it may be.

SatCallSaver is simple to set up and will be available shortly with all of these great features:

  • A unique and dedicated local phone number for each satellite phone
  • Real-time billing with online access to call records and account balances
  • PIN code restrictions (optional) to protect against unwanted callers
  • Blacklisting of callers (optional) to block calls
  • Instant local number activation
  • Gateway calling for two stage dialing
  • SMS is ONLY possible using SatCallSaver across the Inmarsat network
  • Multiple SatCallSaver numbers with individual or grouped billing
  • Prepaid & Postpaid accounts
  • Whitelisting of callers (optional) to bypass pin codes
  • Satellite telephone numbers can be changed without changing your local number

Call us today on +44 1202 801290 to find out more or sign-up online at http://www.satcallsaver.com