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!

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.

Globalstar Introduces The STX3: The World’s Lowest Power-Consuming Satellite Network Chipset for Global M2M Solutions

Today, Globalstar have launched the STX3 simplex satellite global transmitter. The STX3 is a low-cost device designed to deliver reliable one-way digital data communications for remote sensing, tracking and monitoring applications.STX3

The STX3 is a fantastic solution for anybody whose tracking devices are dispersed in remote locations as they are the lowest power-consuming modem of its type in the world and can operate for many months or years without requiring human intervention.

It is three times smaller than the previous Globalstar modem (the STX2) and at just £75, the STX3 provides a cost-effective option, designed to be easily integrated into a huge range of M2M devices and applications to enable the tracking of everything from sheep to ships!

The STX3 is also ideal for hybrid GPRS/GSM-based M2M tracking in areas with limited or no mobile network coverage. “We see a huge opportunity for VARs and OEMs to incorporate the STX3 chipset into compact and efficient communications devices targeted at a wide and fast-growing range of vertical markets,” said Jay Monroe, Chairman and CEO of Globalstar. “With its unrivalled low power consumption and small size, this chipset has the potential to accelerate the adoption of satellite-based M2M – both satellite-only solutions and hybrid cellular/satellite offerings.”

Ovinto, an M2M telematics specialist based in Belgium, is one VAR who has been testing the STX3 chipset. “We have been using the STX2 for many years as it meets our stringent requirements for reliability in even the harshest of environments including contact with explosive materials,” said Frederick Ronse, Founder and CEO of Ovinto. “We have been testing the STX3 and see great potential in using this new technology, particularly its very long battery life. Our customers want to use Ovinto Sat with the reassurance that they can go years without having to replace device batteries in wagons and containers across Europe.”

The Globalstar STX3 is available for purchase from our website.

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.

Introducing pre-paid airtime for Globalstar phones!

The Globalstar satellite network is one of the most advanced in the world, allowing you to keep in touch across over 80% of the Earth’s surface and we are pleased to announce that they have now introduced pay as you go satellite airtime!

To celebrate we have created a special introductory offer: Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone with 50 minutes of call time now available for just £260 plus VAT*.  Other packages are available here on our website.

gstar prepay voucherPay as you go airtime can offer a far more practical and cost effective solution if you do not use your satellite phone all year round or you don’t want to get tied into long contracts. Starting from just £25.00 ex VAT, we currently offer 5 different Globalstar pre-paid top up options ranging from 50 to 1000 units- each with a different amount of SIM validity attached so there is an option to suit everybody’s needs. If you are interested in pre-paid airtime for Globalstar phones then please take a look at our website here.

Globalstar-Prepaid

If you don’t already have a Globalstar phone we highly recommend the great value handset Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone which costs just £250 ex VAT! It offers the best call quality on the market and now there are new pay as you go options available it really is hard to beat! Buy yours today or learn more by clicking here.

Note: Pre-paid service will work ONLY in the current Globalstar Home zone, please check the Globalstar coverage map to see if you will be covered.

*Introductory Offer only available for a limited period.

Our pick of the top 5 gadgets for your next expedition

Hike in desertEvery January we get plenty of enquiries from people full of enthusiasm to plan their next adventure. Of course, for those planning trips in remote areas satellite communications are often an essential part of their trip not only for keeping followers back home up-to-date but also for their life-saving SOS functionality.

Here’s our pick of the best gear for your next expedition:

DeLorme inReach Satellite Trackers

DeLorme-inReach-SE-Satellite-Tracker

The DeLorme range of inReach Trackers are award-winning satellite communicators that use the Iridium global satellite network to enable communication anywhere in the world.  The trackers offer 2-way personal and SOS communications and remote Follow-me/Find-me tracking and have been used by numerous GTC customers to track journeys all over the world.

Can I see the inReach in action? Check out Jon Beardmore’s DeLorme page, driving on a 25,000 mile round trip to China/South East Asia and back.  https://share.delorme.com/JonBeardmore

DeLorme Satellite Trackers are available from £150 ex VAT

BGAN Satellite Internet TerminalsThrane-Explorer-in-Use

BGAN terminals are ideal for travellers who need an internet connection during their trip. We offer a variety of terminals, all offering speeds of at least 384 kbps.  Although they are not as fast as the speed home broadband connections we are used to these days they are fine for sending and receiving emails, photos, updating blogs and general internet browsing.

Who uses a BGAN terminal? British adventurer Leo Houlding counts a BGAN terminal in his top five expedition gadgets:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/09/expert-guide-gadgets

BGAN Terminals are available from £1,115 ex VAT

Thuraya SatSleeve

thuraya-satsleeveThe Thuraya SatSleeve is a world first in satellite add-ons, transforming an iPhone 4/4S/5 into a satellite phone, allowing you to send and receive SMS messages and make calls using the Thuraya network, which covers 2/3rds of the planet.  It’s great to know that you can use your normal iPhone in areas of GSM coverage to reduce costs and have the back-up of the SatSleeve in more remote areas.  The iPhone 5 version also allows you to use data services to update your Facebook and Twitter pages.

Coming soon…Thuraya SatSleeve for Android handsets

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/thuraya-launches-satsleeve-for-android

Thuraya SatSleeve is available from £415 ex VAT

Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite PhoneGlobalstar

With inclusive plans offering voice and data calls for as little as €0.15 per minute and the lowest handset prices in the market, Globalstar sat phones are hard to beat. In 2013 Globalstar became the only mobile satellite service provider to deploy a second-generation constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, allowing you connect to one of the most advanced and modern satellite networks currently available. With pre-paid plans being launched at the end of Jan Globalstar is a great value handset.

Who uses a Globalstar sat phone? Team Savoir Faire used a Globalstar phone on their round Britain rowing challenge http://www.gbrow2013.com/

Globalstar GSP-1700 is available for just £250 ex VAT

Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone

6The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the newest satellite phone currently available. Not only does the 9575 Extreme offer Iridium’s global coverage for voice, data and SMS but it is the first satellite phone to offer the fully integrated services of customizable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notification services with the 2 in 1 design allowing you to carry one less piece of kit!

Who uses the Iridium Extreme? Mountain Guide Bruce Goodlad relies on his Extreme, see his review here:

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/bruce-goodlad-review-of-iridium-9575-extreme

Iridium Extreme is available from £735 ex VAT

Have questions about any of our expedition kit? Give us a call on 01202 801290.

Tracking Products on Trial – DeLorme inReach and SmartOne Satellite Trackers & Queclink GL200 GSM Tracker

It’s always good to see a product in action to get a feel for how it works. That’s why we tested out 3 of our most popular products on a road trip to Spain last weekend.

We used the 1,400 mile drive to Spain to put the DeLorme inReach and SmartOne satellite trackers and Queclink GL200 GSM tracker through their paces.

GTCTrack portal shows the three trackers en route to España!

GTCTrack portal shows the three trackers en route to España! Click to enlarge…

We used our GTCTrack portal which uniquely is able to show all 3 tracking products (along with a multitude of other tracking devices) on one system.  All the devices were:

  • set to transmit every 10 minutes when moving but not while stationary therefore saving battery power
  • running off their own internal battery power although they can also operate on an external line power
  • used inside the car and got a clear signal showing clear line of sight to the sky is not always necessary for trackers

So how did they perform?

DeLorme inReach

Delorme-inReach-Satellite-Tracker

The inReach performed consistently throughout the trip seldom missing it’s scheduled 10 minute transmission.  It’s great to know that the inReach would perform like this anywhere in the world as it has global coverage.

For faster journeys tracking intervals can be increased to every 30 seconds to show routes with increased accuracy. Tracking intervals range from 30 seconds to hourly intervals.

Find out more about inReach

SmartOne

SmartOneSmartOne also performed well and tracking points were extremely accurate.  With message charges from just £0.05 the device can be used to transmit location messages frequently without running up large airtime bills.

The SmartOne is the most flexible of the three devices as it can be configured with many different rules e.g. to only transmit when it moves out of certain co-ordinates.

The SmartOne has the best battery life of all devices and can easily track the return journey without replacement batteries. It could probably go on to track other journeys for at least another couple of months using the same tracking configuration, or years using a lower tracking transmission setting.

Find out more about SmartOne

Queclink GL200

GL200-gsm-tracker-side-thumbThe GL200 performed well in open spaces but did miss a few tracking points when travelling through remote areas in the mountains.  However, if it is not essential for messages to transmit even in areas with no GSM coverage the Queclink is a great value option as the device and airtime are low priced compared to satellite options.

The GL200 is the best device for covert tracking as due to its small size it could easily be placed underneath a car using its magnetic mount without the driver knowing to track the journey.

Find out more about the Queclink GL200

All three devices proved to be reliable throughout the trip and could be used in a wide variety of situations whether you are travelling on foot, by bike, car, plane or hang glider (as used by some of our more adventurous customers!)

If you would like to see more examples of the devices in use please contact us.

5 Questions To Ask Before You Choose Where To Purchase Your Satellite Phone

checklistWhen looking to buy a satellite phone we know that you probably have lots of questions on coverage, phone features and whether the handset is right for you.  We also know that you have options when it comes to where you buy your satellite phone so make sure you consider these extra points before making that important purchase.

 

1. Have I been given all the options available?

Make sure that you have considered all available satellite phones before making your purchase.  Some retailers only offer higher priced models which may offer features that you don’t require.  At Global Telesat Communications we offer all satellite phone models currently supported by the manufacturer:

  • Iridium: 9505a, 9555, 9575 Extreme
  • Inmarsat: IsatPhone Pro
  • Globalstar: GSP-1700
  • Thuraya: SG-2520, XT, XT DUAL, SatSleeve

2. Does the phone come with all the standard accessories?

Most satellite phones come with a wide range of accessories to get you started including wall chargers, DC chargers, data cables and handsfree headsets.  Some retailers sell handsets without all the original accessories to offer a lower price but this is not always clear – this is an important point to remember when comparing prices.  At Global Telesat Communications we always provide our satellite phones with the original manufacturer’s accessories.  The standard accessories that should come with the phones are:

  • Iridium Handsets: Battery, Leather Holster, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, DC Charger, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset, Antenna Adapter, Auxiliary Antenna
  • Inmarsat Handset: Battery, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, DC Charger, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset
  • Globalstar Handset: Battery, AC Charger
  • Thuraya Handsets: Battery, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset

3. Are the top-up options reasonable?

It’s always great to get a bargain but make sure that you check what your ongoing costs will be.  If you are planning to top-up regularly or take out a contract be sure to enquire what the ongoing top-up charges will be otherwise you may find yourself losing money in the long run even after saving money on the intial purchase.  At Global Telesat Communciations we constantly monitor competitor pricing and offer some of the lowest pricing on top-ups in the UK.

4. Does the phone come with the latest firmware pre-installed?

Your phone’s arrived and you can’t wait to get started! But first you have to fiddle around installing firmware.  Save yourself the hassle and check that the sat phone comes with the latest firmware pre-installed.  If it doesn’t, ensure that the retailer does this for you before dispatch.  We always ensure that our handsets are ready to use out of the box as we know you will be keen to get testing!

5. What after sales support is offered?

Too often you receive excellent service in the lead up to a sale but not so much after sales support as you might want!  We offer support via phone, email, Skype, webinar…whatever is best for you.  And unlike other retailers we are happy to help with your enquiries outside of office hours via email.

Do you have other questions you want answered? Give us a call on 0800 112 3919 and we will do our best to help!