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.

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.

IsatPhone Pro users to experience short service outage on 12 November

IsatPhone_Pro_BalanceOutage will occur at 21:00 UTC for 3 hours in Europe, Middle East & Africa

Inmarsat’s Alphasat satellite was successfully launched on 25 July this year and has now reached its in-service orbital location at 25 degrees East, covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

It is intended that Global Satellite Phone Services (GSPS) will be the first to migrate from the Inmarsat-4 (I-4) F2 satellite to Alphasat on 12 November 2013.

Global Satellite Phone Services include IsatPhone Pro, IsatPhone Link and FleetPhone.

The migration of GSPS traffic from I-4 F2 to Alphasat will take place in the I-4 EMEA coverage region at 21:00 UTC on 12 November 2013 during a scheduled three-hour maintenance window.

During this time end-user customers will experience a service outage while the transfer is made.

Once the migration is complete, GSPS traffic will resume as normal and customers will be able to make voice calls and set up data connections in the usual way. No additional action by end-users is required.

Please contact us if you have any questions about this outage.

Bearded Dragons: Three men grow beards for Charity (on a 10,000 mile drive to Mongolia)

A group of three men called the Bearded Dragons are undertaking a 10,000 mile drive from the UK to Mongolia in support of the charity Go Help and we are delighted to help by lending them an Inmarsat isatPhone Pro.

Go Help work with local communities bearded dragonin Central Asia to improve their access to education and healthcare services. They organize Charity Rallies for adventurous people who are prepared to undertake incredible adventures and raise money for charitable projects in Mongolia and Tajikistan. The Bearded Dragons will be participating in the 10,000 mile Mongolia Charity Rally. They will drive from Central London to Ulaanbaatar in their honorary fourth member ‘Bertie the Bus’ and their route can be found here.

We have lent the Bearded Dragons an Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro to use on their journey as it offers the ultimate combination of features and performance – including exceptional voice clarity, SMS text messaging and email – over the world’s most reliable satellite communications network. One of the Bearded Dragons, Paul Nicholls, had this to say about the IsatPhone Pro that we have lent to the team:

“When deciding to embark on such an unusual trip through some of the most remote parts of Central Asia, our personal safety and security always needed to be a top priority. Crossing through multiple countries and remote areas we couldn’t rely on normal mobile phone service, so the satellite phone seemed an obvious choice, giving us (and our loved ones) the reassurance that no matter where we are we’ll always be able to get hold of someone in an emergency. “

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro

“Once we’d made the decision to get an IsatPhone Pro, we also found we’d be able to make use of its SMS and built-in Twitter facilities to not only use the phone in emergencies, but also to keep our supporters, sponsors, friends and family updated about our progress as we go.”

We wish the Bearded Dragons the very best of luck with their challenge and hope that the IsatPhone Pro is useful to them on their journey.

Alan Rankin: Solo Round Britain Challenge

On June 9th our customer, Alan Rankin, plans to begin his challenge to embark on a solo singlehanded circumnavigation of the UK and Ireland. He will sail his yacht, Trade Winds, over 2,300 miles in some of the most challenging yet beautiful waters in the world. His challenge does not end there however as he will also be participating in ten 10k runs (one run at each port including our very own Poole Quay) with the intention of raising funds and awareness of his challenge and his charitable objectives.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alan has over 30,000 miles of sailing experience and is the three times class winner of the Scottish Islands Three Peaks Race. In 2006 he became the first person to singlehandedly sail and cycle around Scotland and now he is preparing to sail singlehandedly around the UK and Ireland in order to raise money and awareness for several charities that are close to his heart including Parkinson’s UK, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society and Ocean Youth Trust Scotland.

Trade Winds ahead2Alan is passionate about the conservation of our seas and wants to raise awareness of how we can all enjoy them without abusing them. His journey will use entirely renewable resources including wind, wave, tidal and solar power and with food and drink all sourced from sustainable producers in the UK he is really making an effort to be kind to the environment. He has been toying with the idea of creating his own campaign called ‘NOTS’ Nil Over The Side and promises that during his trip he will not throw anything at all over the side of his boat. Alan will also be using his trip as a unique photography opportunity and will be recording wildlife observations and supplying his records to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Society.

IsatPhone-ProWe are pleased to be lending an IsatPhone Pro to assist Alan on his challenge. He will be able to use this extremely robust satellite phone to keep in touch whilst he is out of regular mobile network ranges as it uses the highly reliable Inmarsat network service which has global coverage excluding the poles. Alan will be keeping everybody updated regularly during his voyage through Twitter and so we recommended the IsatPhone Pro as it is the only satellite phone that has its own Twitter menu and is able to send and receive tweets via its SMS functionality. Alan will also be using an external antenna to maintain optimum signal throughout his trip.  You can follow his progress by following Alan on Twitter: @soloroundbrit

You can read about the Twitter functionality of the IsatPhone on our blog: Using the IsatPhone Pro in-built Twitter menu.

The following table charts all of Alan’s departure and arrival dates along with direct-line sea miles and is a best case scenario and so is subject to changes depending on weather conditions.

1 09-Jun Ullapool 11-Jun Lerwick 329
2 14-Jun Lerwick 16-Jun Blyth 310
3 18-Jun Blyth 19-Jun Lowestoft 205
4 21-Jun Lowestoft 22-Jun Brighton 160
5 24-Jun Brighton 25-Jun Poole 80
6 27-Jun Poole 28-Jun Falmouth 135
7 01-Jul Falmouth 03-Jul Dingle 295
8 05-Jul Dingle 06-Jul Broad Haven 175
9 08-Jul Broad Haven 11-Jul Stornoway 275
10 14-Jul Stornoway 14-Jul Ullapool 48

Using the IsatPhone Pro in-built Twitter menu

twitterThe IsatPhone Pro from Inmarsat is the only satellite phone with a dedicated in-built Twitter menu which makes it excellent for those on expeditions wanting to keep followers back home updated in a quick and easy manner.  Here we look at getting your Twitter account up and running.

Firstly to ensure that your IsatPhone Pro has the in-built Twitter menu make sure your handset has the latest firmware installed.  Check this by going to Menu > Settings > About > Firmware version.  You need version 5.3.0, if it is not up-to-date please first install the latest firmware by going to:

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/satphone/Inmarsat_IsatPhone_Pro_Support.html

Once you have the correct firmware you need to link your Twitter account with your IsatPhone Pro phone number.  Do this by:

  1. Logging into your Twitter account online
  2. Go to Settings > Mobile
  3. Under Country/Region scroll to the bottom and select Inmarsat
  4. Enter your Inmarsat number (excluding the 870)
  5. Twitter will then ask you to send an SMS from the IsatPhone Pro to set-up the service.

To send a Tweet from your IsatPhone Pro

  1. Menu > Messaging > New Message > New Message > Tweet
  2. Type your message as you would a normal Tweet
  3. When you have finished press Options > Tweet
  4. Each Tweet is charged at the same rate as your SMS fee

Not only can you send tweets you can also choose whether you wish to receive updates from users chosen by you, change account settings and much more.  For a detailed guide please see:

https://support.twitter.com/groups/34-apps-sms-and-mobile/topics/153-twitter-via-sms/articles/14020-twitter-for-sms-basic-features#

 

 

Keep in touch with your loved ones this Valentine’s Day

We know many of our customers spend long periods of time away from their loved ones so here we have put together a little reminder of the most cost-effective ways to say hello to them this Valentine’s Day.

Iridium-Satellite-Network-LogoIridium

1. Send a free SMS to an Iridium phone at http://messaging.iridium.com/

2. 2 stage dialling – allows you to dial a US number and then enter the details of the Iridium number you want to reach. This means you only pay the cost of a call to the US. Call the Iridium gateway number on +1 480 768 2500 and then follow the voice prompts to enter the Iridium number.

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoInmarsat

1. Send a free SMS to an Inmarsat phone/terminal at http://connect.inmarsat.com/Services/Land/IsatPhone/SMS/sms.html

2. Skype: Did you know that Inmarsat is the only satellite network you can call from Skype? Call charges to IsatPhone @ £1.89 per min.

 

Thuraya-Satellite-Network-LogoThuraya

1. Send a free SMS to a Thuraya phone at https://sms.thuraya.com/

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro firmware version 5.1.0 and 5.2.0 charging issues identified

IsatPhone-Pro-Battery-thumbGlobal Telesat Communications have been contacted by Inmarsat with regard to the latest firmware version supplied for the IsatPhone Pro.

In recent days, a problem has been identified with units manufactured since 07 September 2012 running either firmware version 5.1.0, or 5.2.0 (the latest). Inmarsat has discovered that these two versions of firmware contain an error causing the battery not to charge whilst the phone is switched off. If the battery is allowed to run flat, then it becomes impossible to charge the phone unless a new, pre-charged battery is fitted.

Inmarsat engineers are producing a new version of firmware which will resolve this problem. We anticipate that this will be fully tested and available for release by 8th February 2013.

Up until this date, it is recommended that you do not allow the phone to go below a half charge before charging. Please make sure you switch your phone on before charging, or it will not charge.

If you are unsure of what firmware version you are running you can find out by going to Menu > Settings > About > Firmware version on your handset.

New Year Offer – 10% off satellite phone rentals!

IRDM_9555_Usage_09To wish our customers a Happy New Year we are pleased to announce a 10% discount on all satellite phone rentals ordered before 31 January 2013*.  Simply enter discount code JAN2013RENTAL at the checkout!

GTC is pleased to offer Iridium, Inmarsat & Thuraya satellite phone rentals for a minimum of just 7 days.  All phones come in a rugged Peli case with wall charger, car charger, data cable and spare battery all for just £5 per day.

*Please bear in mind that your debit/credit card will be charged for the full amount when you place the order online.

IsatPhone Pro Hints & Tips

We share our hints and tips on using the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone from Inmarsat.

Inmarsat IsatPhone ProTop Tips

When you turn your handset on and deploy the antenna always let the handset finish its satellite search for it to successfully connect to the Inmarsat network. Only press hide if you don’t need the phone to connect to the network.

Please ensure you leave plenty of time to test your equipment and ask us any questions before leaving for remote locations. This allows us to help you more easily and gives you confidence in your equipment!

Making a Call

To dial out of the IsatPhone Pro first of all make sure you have adequate signal then use the following format + OR 00 (country code) – number. For example 00 44 1202 607486. To dial the satellite phone dial 00 87077 and then the rest of your satellite phone number.

Messaging

On the IsatPhone Pro you have the option to either send a normal SMS message or alternatively you can send an email message, which will be charged at the same rate as a SMS but it saves the person replying being charged. Texting between satellite phones and mobile phones is not 100% reliable as the satellite networks do not have agreements with all mobile operators.  Please test before you go.  Email Messaging tends to be more reliable as it avoids GSM networks.

To send a text use the following instructions:

Text Message:

  1. Go to Menu > Messaging > New Message >Text Message
  2. Enter the recipient’s number: + (country code) + mobile number.
  3. Enter the body of the text
  4. Select Options > Send

Email Message:

  1. Go to Menu > Messaging > New Message > Email Message
  2. Enter the email address you wish to send to.
  3. Enter the body of the text
  4. Select Options > Send

Send a free message to your IsatPhone from http://connect.inmarsat.com/Services/Land/IsatPhone/SMS/sms.html

Checking your Pre‐Paid Balance

There are two ways to check you balance on the IsatPhone Pro for pre‐paid users. You can either simply dial *106# or alternatively you can go to Menu > Settings > Prepay > Balance Enquiry.

Adding credit to your Pre‐Paid SIM

If you wish to add further credit to your SIM please call us on +44 1202 607486. We can add credit remotely for you – we just need to to take a card payment and know how much credit you want added. If you prefer we can use your original payment card without having to retake the details to speed things up. Credit is usually added within 30 minutes.

GPS Position

On the IsatPhone Pro you are able to view your GPS location and then send it on via text message or email message. To do this use the following steps:

  1. Go to Menu > GPS Location, and then wait for the phone to get its location.
  2. Once received, press the left soft key to select Options and go to Send GPS Location.
  3. Here you can either select to send the information to a mobile phone number or an email address.

Battery Storage

When in storage the battery should be recharged regularly. We recommend recharging once a month to be safe. Inmarsat recommends you charge the battery to around 60% charge, and store the battery in a dry environment separate from the handset. This gives the best shelf life, because fully charged batteries degrade quicker than part charged batteries, and humidity affects charge life in storage. If a battery is left to go completely flat, then it may not be possible to recharge it again with the normal charger. Therefore never store batteries with a low charge level.

Emergency SOS Personal Alert

The personal alert feature enables a user to send their GPS position, along with a short pre‐configured message, as an email or text message, to a maximum of 10 recipients.

To set up and activate a personal alert:

  1. Go to Menu > Extras > Personal alert > Edit personal alert.
  2. Select Configure personal alert, and edit the recipients and the message.

The quickest way to send a personal alert is to press * and # simultaneously for at least 2 seconds from the main screen.

Alternatively, select Menu > Extras > Personal alert > Send personal alert. A pop‐up will appear asking you to confirm the action.

Twitter

Twitter is available on IsatPhone Pro via its SMS functionality. Firstly, link your existing twitter account by logging into your Twitter account.

  1. Go to Settings > Mobile
  2. Under Country/Region scroll to the bottom and select Inmarsat
  3. Enter your Inmarsat number (excluding the 870)
  4. Twitter will then ask you to send an SMS from the IsatPhone Pro to set-up the service.
  5. Once the service has been set-up Select message > sms and in the ‘to’ field, type 898, and tweet away!
  6. Alternatively if you have installed firmware V5.2.0 you can tweet more easily by going to Menu > Messaging > New message > Tweet. (You still need to set-up the shortcode first).