Polar Expedition Leader Alex Hibbert discusses his satellite communications set-up

Polar-LandscapeAlex-HibbertAlex Hibbert is a world record-holding polar traveller who has skied further on an unsupported Arctic journey than anyone in history.  He relies on a variety of Iridium satellite comms devices provided by GTC to keep in touch in the harsh environments he encounters.

We spoke to Alex about his use of satellite phones and find out how he applauds GTC for their “no-nonsense approach” to customer service.

“Just one example of GTC's support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

“Just one example of GTC’s support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

When did you first begin to use satellite phones?

“By the time I launched myself into the expedition world in the late 2000s, satellite communications were very much in command; traditional radios had been outdated and replaced. Nonetheless, early models were simple in design, far behind even the fledgling mobile phones of the time, expensive and with glitches.”

How did your relationship with GTC develop?

“I began as a customer of GTC in 2011, attracted by their keen pricing and no-nonsense approach to customer service. If I needed a straight answer to a question that had major safety ramifications, I knew I’d get it. Handsets came and went over the years, and data solutions started appearing. A few years ago GTC formalised its support of my projects and vice versa – grown in the way sponsorships should be: from a long accumulation of trust and excellent performance and not due to being the highest bidder.”

Alex uses the Iridium Extreme to keep in touch on his Polar expeditions

Alex uses the Iridium Extreme to keep in touch on his Polar expeditions

What satellite communications equipment do you currently use?

“My current outfit is the Iridium 9575 Extreme and AxcessPoint for data (with a second AxcessPoint and 9555 handset for redundancy). The ruggedness of the handset itself and the quality batteries (critical on long journeys) combines with a far more reliable Iridium satellite network than transpired in the past.”

How will you change your communications set-up as technology advances?

“As the next generation of Iridium appears, with the GO! data terminal and its replacements to take advantage of long-awaited fast Iridium data bandwidth, I will entrust GTC to make sure I stay connected. Just one example of their support, having had a 9575 charging adapter crunched by the jaws of a polar bear alarm dog, was to have a replacement fast-tracked half way around the world.”

Find our more about Alex at www.alexhibbert.com

Iridium Push-to-Talk now available from Global Telesat Communications

Global Telesat Communications is pleased to have been approved by Iridium as an Authorized Iridium Push-to-Talk Reseller

Iridium’s Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution is the world’s first global, satellite-based push-to-talk service. It enables fast, simple, and global group communications at the push of a button, enabling instant communication between participants located anywhere on earth.

Iridium can deliver push-to-talk the way it was meant to be, without the expense and limitations of traditional ground-based towers and repeaters.

Iridium PTT Handset

Iridium PTT Handset

Iridium Push-to-Talk users will make a connection using the Iridium PTT Handset which facilitates global push-to-talk service as well as all the popular features of the Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone including voice, SMS, and GPS tracking via satellite.

The Iridium Extreme PTT has an IP65 rating which means it is dust proof, shock resistant and jet water resistant. It also offers military-grade 810F durability.

Iridium PTT Control Center

Iridium PTT Control Center

There are various airtime options for Iridium PTT depending on how many users and regions you need to use the system in.  PTT plans have just a one month minimum term and Monthly Fees start from $750 for 2 x PTT handsets operating within 100,000 km2.

See all PTT Airtime Options

Once the user has set-up their desired Talk Group Plan with GTC all Talk Group and Handset settings can be controlled directly by the user through the Iridium PTT Command Center.

Talk Groups

  • Have a Monthly Fee based upon the Size Limit
  • Can contain an unlimited number of handsets (there will be a separate monthly fee for each handset)
  • Can be set by the user in the Control Center in Circular or Rectangular areas or by using specific latitude / longitude coordinates in a list view
  • Can be split into up to 10 different coverage “regions”. There are no restrictions on where the coverage may be placed on the earth.


  • Can be assigned to a maximum of 15 Talk Groups
  • Will be charged a single Monthly Fee for PTT
  • Standard Iridium Voice & Data services will require a separate contract

Iridium Push-To-Talk can only be purchased through an Authorized Reseller who has undertaken specific PTT Training.

Contact us on 01202 801290 to discuss Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT) options to suit your requirements.

Product Update: Iridium Push-to-Talk


Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

What is Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT)?

Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution is the world’s first global, satellite-based push-to-talk service. It enables fast, simple, and global group communications at the push of a button, enabling instant communication between participants located anywhere on earth.

Iridium can deliver push-to-talk the way it was meant to be, without the expense and limitations of traditional ground-based towers and repeaters.

What does the Iridium Push-to-Talk system comprise of?

The solution includes the Iridium PTT service; the Iridium Command Center, the cloud-based management system where radios and talk groups are managed; and the Iridium PTT radios, including the Iridium Extreme® PTT (MSRP $1,599) and other devices powered by the Iridium PTT 9523 Core transceiver, which enables manufacturing partners to further expand the enterprise applications for Iridium PTT.

When using PTT , the handheld device gives your team access to unparalleled situation awareness and control features, including:

  • Automatic registration
  • Over-the-air talkgroup programming
  • PTT service status
  • Dynamic talkgroup selection and monitoring
  • Device talker ID
  • Device talker distance and bearing
  • Visual and audio talkgroup scan

PTTWho would use Iridium Push-to-Talk?

Iridium PTT is applicable in every corner of the globe in every industry. It goes above and beyond current satellite and terrestrial offerings, working globally, utilizing small and portable devices, through instant connections.

Test Your Satellite Phone: Iridium SatPhone Saves Arctic Worker’s Life!


Many of our customers use their satellite phones in remote and often dangerous locations making them essential lifelines if an emergency situation were to happen. It is vital to test your satellite phone regularly to ensure that you can reach out for help if you need to. It is so quick and easy to do and it really can save your life- Fredrik Granath can vouch for that!

Fredrik Granath is a leading expert on fieldwork and production of photography and film in the Polar Regions and he fully understands that proper preparation can be key to survival as he spends a lot of time in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet.

In May 2005 Fredrik was driving his snowmobile up a hill in Svalbard when the ground disappeared beneath him and he plunged into a 20 foot crevasse. He was left with a broken back and his left arm was crushed.

“I always keep the Iridium phone close, so I was able to call for help,” he explains. After a helicopter rescue operation, extensive surgery, and half a year of rehabilitation, Fredrik was able to return to the field. “In our work,” Fredrik concludes, ”having the life line of being able to call for help is absolutely necessary.”

Fredrik’s story is not unique and any of us could find ourselves in an emergency situation of some sort and so it is critical that you test your satellite phone regularly. Iridium have set up ‘Test Your Satellite Phone’ week to help ensure your satellite phones are in proper working order. For testing tips visit www.testyoursatellitephone.com or simply dial 00-1-480-752-5105 to get started. No data rates will apply.

Thuraya Launches the World’s Most Advanced Satellite Phone: The Thuraya XT PRO

Thuraya have launched the industry’s most advanced satellite phone, the Thuraya XT-PRO.

The Thuraya XT-PRO offers:

  • XT-PRO1the longest talk-time on any satellite phone – up to 9 hours!
  • the largest display available on a satellite phone made with hardened Gorilla® glass that is glare resistant – perfect for use in bright sunlight.
  • Jet-water, dust and shock resistance – ensuring it withstands the harshest environments.
  • A dedicated SOS button with advanced navigation and tracking features for added safety.
  • all three major navigation systems – the only satellite phone to feature built-in GPS, BeiDou and Glonass for highest accuracy and added security in every region
  •  Unparalleled flexibility for government, energy, media and NGO users in all regions.

The XT-PRO is ideal for professional satellite phone users who need highly reliable connectivity in some of the world’s toughest and most remote places. It also works as a security backup when natural or man-made disasters disrupt terrestrial communications.

The XT-PRO can be used across the Thuraya network covering two thirds of the globe, including more than 160 countries and is available to buy from our website for £525 plus VAT.

Firmware version 5.8.0 now available for IsatPhone Pro

IsatPhone Pro firmware version 5.8.0 is released and available for download now.

Important: Firmware version 5.8.0 supersedes the firmware version 5.6.1.


Recommendations for installation
For 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 that who have not yet upgraded to version 5.3.0 or higher, this upgrade to 5.8.0 is considered  to be ‘mandatory’ to avoid the phone becoming non-operational.

To check you have the latest version on your IsatPhone Pro, go to Menu > Settings > About > Firmware version.

Download Firmware version 5.8.0

Make Calling Satellite Phones Cheaper and Simpler with New SatCallSaver!

Satellite phone numbers with 14+ digit numbers can be confusing to dial and difficult to remember, the expense of long distance call charges can put people off calling them and on top of that many countries and carriers restrict calling satellite phones. The good news is that we have created SatCallSaver to combat all of these issues!


SatCallSaver is a unique solution to allow satellite phone users to select one or many local phone numbers in over 50+ different countries that will terminate to their satellite phone. This provides users with a unique, easy to remember local number and provides a service similar to what they are already comfortable with.

SatCallSaverSatCallSaver also reduces call charges to satellite phones by up to 93% as you will pay calls on a “local to local” as opposed to “long distance to long distance” basis and unlike traditional landline and mobile operators SatCallSaver offers transparent up-front pricing and information on calls. Also, anyone making a call to a satellite phone will no longer be charged for international rates.

One of the many benefits of SatCallSaver is the ability to control costs. We provide real-time billing, activity reports and can integrate all your satellite related services on to one bill. You can stop all unauthorized calls with pin based access codes and save money by routing the call over the SatCallSaver global network to a satellite phone wherever in the world it may be.

SatCallSaver is simple to set up and will be available shortly with all of these great features:

  • A unique and dedicated local phone number for each satellite phone
  • Real-time billing with online access to call records and account balances
  • PIN code restrictions (optional) to protect against unwanted callers
  • Blacklisting of callers (optional) to block calls
  • Instant local number activation
  • Gateway calling for two stage dialing
  • SMS is ONLY possible using SatCallSaver across the Inmarsat network
  • Multiple SatCallSaver numbers with individual or grouped billing
  • Prepaid & Postpaid accounts
  • Whitelisting of callers (optional) to bypass pin codes
  • Satellite telephone numbers can be changed without changing your local number

Call us today on +44 1202 801290 to find out more or sign-up online at http://www.satcallsaver.com

Is the incorrect time showing on your Iridium handset?

Iridium-Satellite-Network-LogoIridium changed the system time on its satellites on 3 March 2015.

Iridium calls this “re-epoching.” After that point, Iridium handsets (like the Iridium Extreme, Iridium 9555, Iridium 9505a, Iridium 9505, and the Iridium 9500) will display the incorrect system time until users enter in a string of numbers.

You can reset the system time on your satellite phone to reflect the correct time by entering a quick string of numbers into your handset.

How to Reset the System Time on Your Iridium Handheld Satellite Phone (9555/9575)

iridium9555At this time, the following instructions only apply to Iridium 9555 and Iridium 9575:

  1.  After the Iridium Time Re-Epoch Occurs (March 3, 2015) you can reset the time on your Iridium 9555 or Iridium 9575
  2. Dial *#99#2014051114235500# on an Iridium 9555 or Iridium 9575 satellite phone
  3. Press the green key
  4. Then power off/on

Resetting the System Time on an Older Iridium Handheld Satellite Phone (9500/9505A)

Iridium 9500, 9505, and 9505A customers will need to set the updated time and date from their phone menu.

  1. Follow the steps in “Getting to Phone Setup…” to get to “Set Time and Date,” and then press OK to select.
  2. Press MENU to choose “Set Home Time + Date” or “Set Away Time + Date,” and then press OK. You will see “Enter Home Time or Enter Away Time” and the time currently set.
  3. Press OK to accept the displayed time or enter the time in 24-hour format, and then press OK. You will see “Enter Home Date or Enter Away Time” and the date currently set.
  4. Press OK to accept the displayed date. You will see “Completed.” or enter the date in day(dd)-month(mm)-year(yy) form and then press OK. You will see “Completed.”
  5. Press and hold C to exit the menu.

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

Global Telesat Communications to support record attempt for Fastest Human Powered Circumnavigation


The 28ft ocean rowing boat will carry five people on board 3,500 miles! Picture courtesy of Sam Greatrex/Lap The World

We are pleased to be supporting Sam Greatrex from Lap The World in the next leg of his attempt to break the record for the fastest Human Powered Circumnavigation.

The second leg of the journey sees Sam and his team rowing 3,500 miles from Lagos, Portugal to Guyana across the North Atlantic Ocean.  On this trip alone the opportunity to break 4 Guinness World records exists including the fastest crossing from mainland Europe to mainland South America.  During the journey the team will carry an Iridium satellite phone and Iridium GO! to keep in contact with the team back home and obtain weather reports.

Aside from breaking records Sam aims to raise £240,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Macmillan is a cause close to Sam who was diagnosed with cancer in 1995.  He says “It’s always been an ambition of mine to do something really meaningful for Macmillan Cancer Support after they helped me recover from cancer.”  This amount would be enough to build a chemotherapy suite in a hospital – of the target Sam says “The circumference of earth is 24,000 miles and if we raise £10 for each mile of that journey, we’ll hit the target and help people diagnosed with cancer in the UK have access to the same level of care that I was fortunate to receive.”

Help Sam by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/laptheworld/

Read more about Sam’s Circumnavigation at http://www.laptheworld.com/