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.

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.

Introducing New Iridium Airtime Vouchers

We are pleased to announce that we have introduced two brand new airtime vouchers to our website and so we are now able to offer you even more options for your satellite phone airtime.

IRDM_9555_Usage_09The first of our new vouchers is called the Iridium PAYG Latin America 200 Minutes/6 Months Validity and it is competitively priced at just £125. This voucher provides a lower rate per minute for Iridium sat phone users that are making calls within Latin America* from Mexico to Cape Horn and up to 12 nautical miles offshore. It gives you 200 minutes of calling time (12,000 units) and 6 months of validity.

The second new voucher that we have introduced is called the Iridium PAYG Global 300 minute prepaid voucher. This voucher is also very competitively priced, it offers 12 months of validity and costs just £350 for 300 minutes (18,000 units) at a lower rate per minute for Iridium sat phone users. This voucher offers an inexpensive alternative to the full 500 minute voucher.

Iridium-9505a-US-Made-Satellite-PhoneIridium is the only satellite network to provide pole to pole global coverage.  These new vouchers along with the other Iridium pre-paid vouchers and contract SIMs are for use on the Iridium 9555, Iridium 9575 Extreme and Iridium 9505a satellite phones.  GTC holds Iridium SIM cards in stock for next day delivery within the UK.  You can also keep an eye on your SIM balances and usage through our online system “SatCompass” which is free of charge to all GTC customers.  Please contact us if you have any questions regarding Iridium satellite phone airtime.

* Check our website for a list of the specific countries that are included.

DeLorme and Iridium Summer Promotion for inReach Devices

DeLorme and Iridium have teamed up to create a great promotion on airtime for inReach products this summer. When any inReach or inReach SE device is activated for the first time in either June or July 2013 it will receive two free months of airtime (the two months credit will be applied within 30 days of activation).

summer_promo_header

inReach devices are the only two-way satellite communicators available that are able to receive responses to text messages, making it possible to interact with anyone, anywhere in the world with 100% global coverage.

The special offer applies to all safety plans, recreational plans and expedition plans as long as they are activated and serviced through the DeLorme Explore Portal. The offer is however only valid for new, end user, subscribers and can not be applied retroactively on existing subscriptions and is not valid on seasonal subscriptions or Enterprise plans.

Users must register for the promotion by clicking here and filling in their purchase details.

Changes to Inmarsat airtime plans including IsatPhone Pro & FleetBroadband

In response to recent changes brought in by Inmarsat there will be adjustments to both IsatPhone Pro and FleetBroadband 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 June 2012

Inmarsat are changing the validity and pricing of pre-paid vouchers for the IsatPhone Pro as shown in the table below.

GTC advice to existing customers: Top-up before 1 June 2012 to extend your entire balance for another two years.

GTC advice to new customers: Purchase and activate your SIM before 1 June 2012 to take advantage of the highest validity possible.

Voucher Current Validity Validity from 1 June Price
25 units 2 years 30 days TBC
50 units 2 years 90 days TBC
100 units 2 years 180 days TBC
250 units 2 years 180 days TBC
500 units 2 years 365 days TBC
1,000 units 2 years 365 days TBC
2,500 units 2 years 365 days TBC
5,000 units 2 years 365 days TBC

 


 

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro Post-Paid Airtime with effect from 1 June 2012

Although there is still a great range of plans available for the IsatPhone Pro pricing and inclusive minutes have changed.  Please note that exisiting customers will be moved on to these plans and therefore those on the Standard Plan will see increases in their monthly fee – however, they will also now receive 10 inclusive minutes per month and keep their flexible 1 month minimum term.

To compare the latest IsatPhone contracts please visit our website.

 

Inmarsat FleetBroadband Airtime with effect from 1 May 2012

For basic occasional use on FleetBroadband terminals we are now recommending the Fishing & Leisure plans starting from $50/month.  This gives you 5 MB, 30 mins and 20 SMS per month and still has the flexible 1 month minimum.

Please visit our website to find out more about the Fishing & Leisure plans and our other FleetBroadband plans.

Iridium 9555 Starter Package

Buy now

Iridium 9555 Starter Package

<<Iridium 9555 + 75 minutes + Peli case>>

Only £850 (ex VAT)

Normally £924 (ex VAT)

Visit our website for more information

 

* Valid until 30 September 2011
* Iridium 9555 £785, 75 minutes worth £99, and carry case £40 (ex VAT)
* Telephone orders only - call us on +44(0)1202 607486

GeoPro Messenger now available from Global Telesat Communications

Global Telesat Communications are now stocking the handheld GeoPro Messenger which offers two-way text messaging anywhere in the world via the Iridium satellite system.  The GeoPro Messenger is not restricted by the normal mobile phone networks, but is truly global in its coverage, offering users the facility of one-button contact with emergency services and two-way text messaging between friends and relatives (unlike some other tracking devices), as well as an online web facility for tracking progress of the user.

Despite its small size (125mm x 63mm x 37mm) and light weight (380g), the GeoPro Messenger is feature rich. In a crisis the user can press a single button to alert the emergency services and give them an exact location, yet in happier times he can use the QWERTY keyboard to exchange emails or text messages of up to 160 characters. The GeoPro also offers the facility to send regular ‘check in’ messages (with the added safety feature of automatic prompts if the schedule is missed), to capture and store significant waypoints and to enable followers to track your progress via the internet.

GeoPro Messenger

GeoPro Messenger now available from Global Telesat Communications

Powered by a Lithium Ion battery that will provide power for up to 1000 message reports between charges, the GeoPro Messenger is waterproof and dustproof to IP66 standard. It operates from -10ºC to +50ºC and has a monochrome, backlit, anti-glare display screen.

The GeoPro Messenger fits neatly into the range of satellite communications systems offered by Global Telesat Communications and ensures that wherever anyone is, whether at sea or on land, they need no longer be out of reach. With the GeoPro, they now have messaging immediately available at an affordable price. The GeoPro even comes with its own software application for secure (https) web based mapping, multiple user messaging and address books. It’s a powerful and sophisticated device offering potentially life saving facilities.

The retail price for the GeoPro Messenger from Global Telesat Communications is £450.00 ex VAT. There is no activation fee, although there is a one-off software licence fee of $50 (ex VAT) and a monthly service fee, including mapping, of $35 (ex VAT), with a charge of $0.20 (ex VAT) per message.

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro Airtime Rates Now Available!

Inmarsat

Global Telesat Communications is pleased to announce that we now have airtime rates available for the new IsatPhone Pro. Inmarsat are proving very competitive with their sat phone call charges on both pre-paid and post-paid airtime for their Global Satellite Phone Service (GSPS).

Inmarsat GSPS Pre-Paid Airtime

Other satellite networks such as Iridium and Thuraya offer a range of validity periods on different vouchers which can become confusing. Inmarsatare offering a flat two year validity on all pre-paid vouchers, even the smaller denominations. This is great for customers who only use their sat phone in emergencies but don’t want to lose their credit if they don’t use it. What’s more the rate per minute works out to be good value with costs varying from £0.61 – £1.00 per minute to fixed lines depending on the volume of airtime you buy.

A drawback for some pre-paid users will be that currently pre-paid service may not be used for calls within, from or to the United States. This will be resolved at a later date.

Inmarsat GSPS Post-Paid Airtime

All other satellite phone networks offer a standard contract with a 12 month minimum period. Inmarsat are breaking boundaries by offering 3 different contracts, all with no activation fee and two of which have no minimum term! This makes the IsatPhonevery flexible for those occasional users. For those who frequently use their sat phone Inmarsat is offering two plans which have inclusive minutes making call costs even cheaper.  Call costs to a fixed line range from £0.60 – £0.66 per minute depending on which plan you choose.

Summary of IsatPhone Pro Post-Paid Plans
 
Standard Plan
Allowance 20 Plan
Allowance 60 Plan
Monthly Fee
$20.00
$35.00
$60.00
Inclusive Minutes Each Month
0
20*
60**
Minimum Contract Duration (Months)
0
0
12
 
* Allowance for Voice to Fixed traffic only. No rollover of unused minutes.
** Allowance is for mobile originated traffic to fixed/cellular/voicemail/GSPS/SPS/BGAN/FBB/SBB. No rollover of unused minutes.

 We have already had some questions as to why you would choose the Standard Plan when there are no inclusive minutes, why not just choose pre-paid?  Well, the advantage that post-paid always has over pre-paid vouchers is that you do not have to worry about topping up your airtime, running out of credit or losing credit after validity periods have ended – you will always be able to make a call.  Considering there is no minimum contract on the Standard Plan it is still a very flexible option for occasional users.

Global Telesat Communications are proud to be a verified bronze partner of Inmarsatwhich is why you can trust us with your IsatPhone Pro handset and airtime purchase.

For advice on which IsatPhone airtime plan will suit your requirements please contact us.

Post-Paid or Pre-Paid Satellite Airtime?


Just like mobile phones, when it comes to choosing airtime for satellite phones there are two options – post-paid and pre-paid airtime.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both options but we aim to give you all the facts you need to make an informed decision to ensure you choose the most cost effective and best suited airtime option for your requirements.

Post-Paid Contracts
Satellite airtime contracts are available on the Iridium, Thuraya, Globalstar and Inmarsat satellite networks.  If you are willing to sign up to the commitment of a 12 month minimum contract there can be many benefits to post-paid satellite airtime.  Unlike pre-paid airtime you do not have to worry about minutes or SIM cards expiring – you will be able to use your SIM for as long as you keep the contract running after the minimum period.  You can also benefit from cheaper call costs with a contract which is great if you will regularly be using your sat phone and unlike pre-paid airtime you are only paying for the minutes as and when you use them.  Detailed call records are available with post-paid airtime contracts and are sent with your invoice on a monthly basis – this is something that is not usually done with pre-paid airtime.

Pre-Paid Vouchers
Pre-paid vouchers have the benefit of no monthly fees or minimum contracts.  However, you are paying upfront for your minutes so make sure you choose a quantity of minutes most suited to your usage.  This is because with Thuraya and Iridium prepaid options all airtime vouchers have an expiry date or validity period which will start from the date you add them to your SIM card.  So if you don’t use your minutes, you lose them. This means you need to keep track of when airtime is expiring so that you don’t get caught out when you need to use your satellite phone although most providers will send you reminders before airtime expires.

Although it is possible to top-up your satellite airtime online, as most sat phones are used in remote locations it is useful to make arrangements with your service provider before you leave on remote trips as to how you will give payment for any top-ups you might require along the way.

With both post-paid and pre-paid satellite airtime you get free incoming calls and text messages making it easy to stay in contact with friends, family and colleagues back home via your sat phone.

The world of satellite airtime can be confusing with various tariffs, plan validities and units per minute available.  The main question to ask yourself when choosing your airtime is how often you will be using your sat phone. We are happy to discuss the best satellite airtime option for you, please contact us.

 

Post-Paid Contracts

Pre-Paid Vouchers

Advantages

Low cost/minute, no need for top-ups

Flexible, no contract or activation fees

Disadvantages

12 month minimum contract

Have to keep track of when minutes are expiring.  Lose unused minute if let them expire.

Networks available

Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya, Globalstar

Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya, Globalstar

Payment

Invoiced monthly

Payable in advance

Calls charged in

$/min

Units

Best for

Regular usage

Emergency or short-term use

 

Satellite Internet Access Using Satellite Terminals

If you’re looking to purchase a satellite broadband terminal but don’t know where to start, our blog is here to help.  There are many factors to take into account when considering a satellite terminal.

 

The main use of a satellite terminal is to allow connection to the internet at broadband speeds from virtually anywhere in the world.  As most terminals are no larger than a laptop they can be transported easily and are therefore ideal for people requiring internet connectivity while travelling in remote locations. Some terminals offer voice capability through a telephone handset which means they can also be used to make satellite phone calls.

 

There are two main networks to choose from when considering a satellite terminal; Inmarsat BGAN and Thuraya. Most terminals currently available work on the near-global Inmarsat BGAN network and offer data rates of between 384 kbps to 492 kbps. Some terminals, such as the Thrane & Thrane Explorer 700, allow simultaneous multi-user access to the internet but most users will find the Thrane & Thrane 300 or Wideye Sabre 1 BGAN terminals more than adequate as they are small, light and cheaper than the multi-user models.

 

The Inmarsat BGAN network covers everywhere in the world from 72 degrees north to 72 degrees south. This means that the only place the network is not available is in the poles. If you are interested in purchasing a BGAN terminal please look at our Inmarsat BGAN terminal page to see the range of Inmarsat BGAN terminals currently available.

 

Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 700 Satellite Terminal

Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 700 Satellite Terminal

 

The alternative network to consider is Thuraya. Thuraya offer just one terminal, the Thuraya IP, which is a small and light terminal capable of a data rate of up to 444 kbps. The Thuraya network covers two thirds of the globe consisting of most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. If you are interested in purchasing a Thuraya terminal please look at our Thuraya terminal page to see more information on the Thuraya IP terminal.

 

If you’re still not sure about the Inmarsat and Thuraya coverage why not have a look at our coverage page to double check that the Inmarsat or Thuraya terminal will work where you are going.

 

Once you have chosen the satellite broadband terminal most suitable for your requirements you will need to buy airtime to use with the terminal. If you do not need global coverage and will be travelling within the Thuraya network coverage area you may find that some of their airtime options can work out better value for money than BGAN. Thuraya offer post-paid plans which include a set amount of data that you can transfer each month without incurring any additional charge. Once this amount is exceeded you will be charged at a standard rate for your usage.

 

If you need to use your terminal outside the Thuraya network area then an Inmarsat BGAN terminal is the best option for you. Although this can work out a little bit more expensive in some situations, you will have the peace of mind knowing that, unlike Thuraya IP, the terminal offers near-global coverage. With BGAN you have the option of buying post-paid or pre-paid airtime. Post-paid airtime involves a monthly fee and a minimum contract term and is suitable for someone who is going to use an unknown amount of airtime over a long period of time. Prepaid airtime is more suitable for short term users who know in advance the rough amount of data they will be transferring. Once this data has been transferred you will not be able to use your terminal until you top it up with extra credit.

 

Once you have made a decision on what you think best suits your needs then why not get in contact with us to ask any final questions.