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.

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.

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.

Introducing the Thuraya SatSleeve to Our Rental Stock

We are pleased to announce that we have a new addition to our rental stock: the Thuraya SatSleeve. The Thuraya SatSleeve is a world first in satellite add-ons, transforming an iPhone 4/4S/5/5s or a Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 into a satellite phone, able to send and receive SMS messages and e-mails, access the internet and apps and make calls using the Thuraya network, which covers 2/3rds of the planet.

thuraya-satsleeve-iphone

If you do not have any long-term need for a satellite phone or don’t want to go to the expense of purchasing your own then renting a Thuraya SatSleeve from us could be the ideal solution. You avoid the trouble of setting up a contract and escape having to commit to a lengthy contract term and all with a daily rental rate of just £5 a day!

Simply download the free app and insert your smartphone into the SatSleeve dock and the phone is ready to use.

We are offering the Thuraya SatSleeve at an incredibly low daily rental price of just £5 a day and with a rental deposit of just £300. It is available with next day delivery – perfect for any last minute rentals – and comes with all the accessories you need to get started so contact us or visit our website to book in your rental today!

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.

FleetBroadband excels in 65 degree South Antarctic conditions

FleetBroadband is tested to the extreme aboard a month-long sailing expedition from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Panos Tsikopoulos

An extreme sailing expedition from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula is putting Inmarsat FleetBroadband and the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone to the test in one of the harshest and most remote locations in the world.

The crew of ten experienced sailors on the month-long voyage includes Panos Tsikopoulos from Navarino, a leading satcom provider to the maritime industry and an Inmarsat Partner. He set sail on a specialised stainless steel sailing boat ‘Vailhere’ on 12 January from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina. Inmarsat Maritime has sponsored the voyage with an ‘all you can eat’ (AYCE) package of airtime and data, with equipment provided by Cobham.

Equipment testing

“Our objectives have been to learn to navigate in icy conditions, hike at the Antarctic, observe the landscape and wildlife, visit old military and scientific bases, and for me personally, to test equipment such as FleetBroadband,” said Panos.

“I am currently in the Antarctic at 65 degrees south enjoying Inmarsat’s high-quality connectivity – our FleetBroadband is working very well for voice and data, even though we are at such southern latitudes.

“Furthermore, my IsatPhone works very well too. Voice quality is perfect. This is particularly useful and gives us additional safety when we are exploring on land,” he added.

Inhospitable environment

He also found that the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone worked much better compared to a competitor product, which had an inferior service with intermittent coverage and loss of connection after five minutes.

IsatPhone-Pro

The expedition course is mapped through Cape Horn, Drake Passage and the Southern Ocean, tackling some of the most adverse and rough sea conditions.

The extreme southerly route takes FleetBroadband not only to one of the world’s most inhospitable environments but also tests it right up to the edge of its coverage map.

Staying connected

The crew have all been using FleetBroadband to call family and friends, browse the internet and to send and receive emails, including large picture files.

The AYCE package has proved to be particularly useful as the team are big fans of the cross-platform mobile instant messaging app ‘Whatsapp’ – high demand has led to up to four to six simultaneous users at any one time.

Panos and his team aim to finish their once-in-a-lifetime sailing adventure on 12 February. If you would like further information about the products that they are using please visit our website or call us on 0800 112 3919.

Globalstar Introduces Sat-Fi: A Groundbreaking MSS Solution That Instantly Turns Any Smartphone, Tablet or Computer Into a Satellite Phone or Data Device

Today, Globalstar, unveiled Sat-Fi, a revolutionary voice and data solution that provides seamless integration between any Wi-Fi enabled device (i.e., smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) and Globalstar’s new satellite constellation.

Globalstar-Satellite-Network-Logo

With Sat-Fi, Globalstar customers can use their existing smartphones and existing phone numbers to send and receive communications over the Company’s satellite network, offering seamless voice and data connectivity when beyond the range of cellular. This new technology means that people who find themselves outside of cell coverage, for whatever reason, can use their existing smartphones or computers to always stay connected.

Through a convenient app and Sat-Fi satellite hot spot, subscribers will be able to easily send and receive calls, email and SMS text messages anywhere within Globalstar’s footprint from their own device. Like all Globalstar mobile satellite solutions, Sat-Fi is built and priced to appeal to a broad addressable market, including enterprise and government customers as well as the mass consumer market. Whether on land or at sea, Sat-Fi subscribers will be able to maintain constant, reliable connectivity when traveling in and out of cellular coverage with seamless handoff capabilities, while permitting numerous individuals to communicate through a single Sat-Fi hot spot using their existing devices and phone numbers.

Hike in desert

Who needs Globalstar Sat-Fi?

Now, roughly two billion people in the world either live, work or play beyond the range of terrestrial networks. Additionally there are those people who temporarily find themselves without cellular coverage for whatever reason, including, but not limited to:

  • Emergency responders and those impacted by natural or man-made disasters where cell coverage often becomes unavailable, which was experienced during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, recent tornado outbreaks and the Northeast blackout of 2003
  • Recreational or commercial boat owners and enthusiasts, and their passengers, who need to be able to make calls, send emails and communicate via SMS text messages over satellite while maintaining the capabilities and flexibility of their existing smartphones and computers
  • Oil and Gas and other natural resources industries who rely on constant, cost-effective connectivity for work productivity and peace of mind
  • Temporary industrial worksites that rely on simple, constant voice and data connectivity within a portable office environment
  • Avid outdoor recreationalists, such as hunters, hikers and campers who need assurance when traveling on or off the grid

“It has been our vision to seamlessly integrate satellite and terrestrial coverage, and through many years of research and development, we are thrilled to announce this proprietary new technology and service offering in order to expand the use and appeal of our mobile satellite services to a much larger addressable market,” said Jay Monroe, Chairman and CEO of Globalstar. “Now that we have completed the deployment of our new constellation, Sat-Fi will have global appeal to those who need reliable connectivity beyond the cellular grid. As we continue to seamlessly integrate our satellite services into the everyday lives of our increasingly expanding subscriber base, this scalable technology represents a giant leap forward in achieving this fundamental goal. We have waited a long time to be in the position to announce this breakthrough product and I’d like to thank the entire development team for their unending perseverance.”

Globalstar is expected to receive final FCC certification of Sat-Fi during the second quarter of 2014, with shipments starting shortly thereafter.