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

IsatHub Firmware Released

IsatHubInmarsat have released firmware version 01.0.2 for the Wideye iSavi IsatHub Land Portable Terminal which is now available to download from the GTC Support Site.

This is a recommended firmware upgrade including improvements to existing services such as:

  • Improved call handling
  • Improved battery charging/discharging management
  • Improved satellite pointing algorithm
  • General bug fixes

If you have any questions during your firmware upgrade please call us on +44 1202 801290.

Download IsatHub Firmware Version 01.0.2

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

 

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.

The Inmarsat IsatHub Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot Has Arrived

Imagine a new service from Inmarsat that will enable your smart phone or tablet to work seamlessly, anywhere on the planet*, completely independent of cellular or fixed networks.IsatHub, available now, enables you to talk, text, and access the Internet on your smart device, anywhere inside – or outside – the coverage of cellular or terrestrial comms, with one global tariff.We all know how much we depend on our smart devices for work, pleasure, and keeping in touch with friends and family. Empowering you to stay in touch wherever you go, this new service represents a significant step-change in your own personal connectivity, worldwide.IsatHub will enable yoIsatHub2u to continue to use your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet beyond the reach of cellular or terrestrial networks. The service is accessed via an app on your device, which connects to a new, low-cost terminal, smaller than an ipad.

You will feel empowered knowing you can talk, text and access the internet with your personal or work smart devices wherever you go. In some sectors this will prove to be part of everyday life, such as, journalists who rely on social media and other digital channels to update their readers on news as it happens.

And of IsatHubcourse, using data speeds of up to 384kbps and an unrivalled network availability of 99.9 per cent, no other mobile satellite operator can offer this level of performance and reliability for smart device connectivity.

* Coverage is over the global Inmarsat-4 satellite network, which excludes extreme polar regions

The IsatHub is available to buy now for just £795.00 ex VAT

 

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

WiFi Winston brings internet access to remote Africa

BGAN is helping remote African communities to experience the internet for the first time via a vehicle named WiFi Winston.WiFi-Winston

The four-by-four is showcasing the power of connectivity using an Explorer 325 BGAN vehicular terminal, helping underserved communities to see how their lives and work opportunities can be enhanced with internet access.

Winston is three months through a planned nine-month long journey across the country and East Africa, providing free WiFi within a 50 metre radius at each stop.

WiFi for education

The initiative is part of Project Isizwe, a non-profit organization, which aims to bring the internet to communities through free WiFi for public spaces, with a core focus on connectedness for education.

It also aims to encourage local governments to introduce WiFi, helping it to plan, roll-out and maintain free networks.

“Inmarsat’s connectivity is absolutely instrumental to the project. Without connectivity we’re selling the dream without showing them what the dream is,” said Gerrit Scholtz, Winston’s ‘pilot’.

Increase opportunities

“The feedback we’ve been getting back has given us a snapshot of how connectivity can improve people’s life chances in terms of education as well as health and job opportunities. Most commonly people have said they would use WiFi to read more and learn.

“Amazingly the kids wanted to see photos of Nelson Mandela’s funeral. I was almost taken aback when they asked and their enthusiasm to know more about the event was incredibly heartwarming.”

He added: “A few communities have indicated that they would like to take our initial conversations around free WiFi further. Both national and provincial government have placed broadband strategies in place and we’re there to help fulfil their obligations.”

Social media

Inmarsat’s BGAN also enables Project Isizwe to update social media and increase awareness about WiFi Winston through Twitter and Instagram.

James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s Head of Government Affairs, said: “Project Isizwe seeks to eliminate the market failure for connectivity by showcasing the possibilities to excluded communities and creating groundswell demand. The attributes of Inmarsat connectivity – easy to use, very reliable, high availability network – are each advantaged by this project.”

Project Isizwe was founded by e-entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig, founder of Ever Africa which sells eCommerce, games, education, eBooks and telecoms in Africa.

IsatPhone Firmware Upgrade 5.6.1

Download the latest Inmarsat firmware upgrade from our website by clicking here.

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoFor 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 who have not yet upgraded to version 5.3.0 or higher, this upgrade to 5.6.1 is considered ‘mandatory’ to avoid the phone becoming non-operational.

Pre-requisites for installation and advice after installation

  • The handset must be running firmware version 3.0.2 or above (you do not need to install all firmware versions between 3.0.2 and 5.5.1).
  • To check your phone’s firmware version, go to menu > settings > about > firmware version. In order to upgrade the handset’s firmware you must have a PC running Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP.
  • For Windows 7 users, the latest version of USB drivers and IsatPhone Pro’s firmware upgrade tool must be installed. Please read the installation guides for the firmware upgrade tool and USB drivers which are also downloadable from the website.
  • Once the phone is upgraded to version 5.6.1, do not downgrade to a version prior to 3.0.5a. If this downgrade is performed, phone book contacts and messages will be erased and call logs (dialled, received, and missed) will not be updated.

To install IsatPhone Pro firmware 5.6.1

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

The firmware upgrade will take approximately 15 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:

  • Enhancement to GPS status feedback.

Important fixes:

  • Removes the requirement for a manual work-around in situations where a brand-new or never before used IsatPhone Pro handset fails to register with the network.
  • Resolution of sporadic events where the IsatPhone Pro handset hangs and needs to be re-booted when GPS fix is not acquired.
  • Resolution of reported sporadic events of IsatPhone Pro handset hanging and needing to be re-booted during satellite search, number dialling or during calls.

You can download the latest Inmarsat firmware upgrade from our website here.

Changes to Inmarsat Airtime Plans

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoIn response to recent changes brought in by Inmarsat there will be adjustments to both IsatPhone pre-paid and post-paid airtime plans in the coming months.  Please note these changes apply to existing and new customers and we advise customers to read the following information carefully to get the best value from their Inmarsat equipment in the future.

If you have any questions at all about how these changes affect you please do not hesitate to contact us.

IsatPhone Pro Pre-Paid Airtime with effect from 1 September 2014

Inmarsat are changing the validity and pricing of pre-paid vouchers as shown below.

    • All pre-paid call charges that were 1.0 units per minute will increase to 1.3 units per minute
    • This means that a 500 unit voucher will have 384 minutes of voice to PSTN.
    • This impacts Existing & New Activations
    • There will be no increase in pricing

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro Post-Paid Airtime with effect from 1 September 2014

Inmarsat are changing the pricing of the standard post-paid plan. Please note that existing customers on the standard plan will see increases in their monthly fee.

    • IsatPhone Pro Standard Plan monthly fee increased to $35
    • No change to allowance (still includes 10 minutes)
    • This impacts Existing & New Activations

To compare the latest IsatPhone contracts please visit our website.

If you have any questions on how the changes impact you please ring us on 01202 801290.