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.

Inmarsat BGAN helps deliver healthcare to remote areas in two innovative cases

BGAN satellite broadband is being used to improve high mortality rates and maternity care in the Amazon and West Africa.

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

In the Amazon where one in ten mothers and their babies die before their 1st birthday, Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is using BGAN in the region’s first ever eHealth network.  The network allows health professionals to provide pre-natal, birth and post-natal care at four isolated health centres – improving the diagnosis and care of around 40,000 mothers and their babies.

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

TSF installed the Cobham SATCOM Explorer 700 terminals after training technicians and health professionals at the health centres spread over the Rio Negro region in the north-west of the rainforest.

Using the terminals, midwives will be able to consult with other healthcare specialists at the main clinic in the town of São Gabriel da Cachoeira to remotely monitor and diagnose conditions.

An eHealth project using Inmarsat’s BGAN in Gabon, West Africa has shown how people living in a remote rainforest can benefit greatly from telemedicine.  The project used a BGAN terminal to transmit ultrasound images to doctors at a local hospital and to Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, where they could consult with patients in real-time.

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Mathieu Forgues, a Harvard medical student, used a battery-powered VSee Telemedicine Field Kit alongside the BGAN terminal which comprises of an iPad, diagnostic tools and medical devices such as ultrasound equipment. It provides high-quality video across four camera feeds, allowing doctors to see the patient and real-time medical images and readings when connected to the internet via BGAN.

Mathieu travelled 50 minutes by boat from the local hospital, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, to two remote villages where he carried out ultrasound chest and ear check-ups on children.  The images were then relayed to Dr Jean-Daniels at Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which serves a large catchment of up to 60 villages.  Mathieu said: “For many villagers, especially children, this is the only chance they will have to see a doctor because there may be only one paediatrician in the area.”

Becky Wai, VSee’s Director of Medical Services, said: “Inmarsat plays an essential role in extending medical services, remote health consultations or online health education and training to rural and remote areas that are otherwise without the internet.

“The BGAN terminal is small enough to put it in a backpack and it’s ready to use in less than a minute when in the field. There’s no complicated set-up and configuration – just pressing a few buttons.

“During the two trial visits to the village, Inmarsat was 100 per cent reliable, offering all needed services to link remote medical teams to city-based doctors.”

Inmarsat IsatPhone Firmware Update

Please be advised that the deadline for IsatPhone Pro users to update the firmware on their phones to version 5.3.0 has been extended to Friday, 28 November 2014.

The operational changes to the IsatPhone-ProIsatPhone Pro network, originally scheduled for 18 April 2014, have been postponed to allow users more time to carry out the firmware update.

In addition, Inmarsat have released IsatPhone Pro firmware version 5.5.1. Firmware version 5.5.1 will supersede the (mandatory) firmware version 5.3.0 released in February 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: Installation of firmware version 5.3.0 or higher is critical to the continued use of IsatPhone Pro after the end of November 2014. All IsatPhone Pro users are therefore requested to install firmware v5.3.0 or v5.5.1 without delay, as no further extension to the upgrade deadline can be expected.

Firmware is available for download here.

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.

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.

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.