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

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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!

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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.

IsatPhone-Pro

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!

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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

Is the incorrect time showing on your Iridium handset?

Iridium-Satellite-Network-LogoIridium changed the system time on its satellites on 3 March 2015.

Iridium calls this “re-epoching.” After that point, Iridium handsets (like the Iridium Extreme, Iridium 9555, Iridium 9505a, Iridium 9505, and the Iridium 9500) will display the incorrect system time until users enter in a string of numbers.

You can reset the system time on your satellite phone to reflect the correct time by entering a quick string of numbers into your handset.

How to Reset the System Time on Your Iridium Handheld Satellite Phone (9555/9575)

iridium9555At this time, the following instructions only apply to Iridium 9555 and Iridium 9575:

  1.  After the Iridium Time Re-Epoch Occurs (March 3, 2015) you can reset the time on your Iridium 9555 or Iridium 9575
  2. Dial *#99#2014051114235500# on an Iridium 9555 or Iridium 9575 satellite phone
  3. Press the green key
  4. Then power off/on

Resetting the System Time on an Older Iridium Handheld Satellite Phone (9500/9505A)

Iridium 9500, 9505, and 9505A customers will need to set the updated time and date from their phone menu.

  1. Follow the steps in “Getting to Phone Setup…” to get to “Set Time and Date,” and then press OK to select.
  2. Press MENU to choose “Set Home Time + Date” or “Set Away Time + Date,” and then press OK. You will see “Enter Home Time or Enter Away Time” and the time currently set.
  3. Press OK to accept the displayed time or enter the time in 24-hour format, and then press OK. You will see “Enter Home Date or Enter Away Time” and the date currently set.
  4. Press OK to accept the displayed date. You will see “Completed.” or enter the date in day(dd)-month(mm)-year(yy) form and then press OK. You will see “Completed.”
  5. Press and hold C to exit the menu.

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