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!

Thuraya Launches Vehicular IP Broadband Terminal

Thuraya Telecommunications has launched its first dedicated vehicular IP broadband terminal.

Designed and manufactured by Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions, Thuraya IP Voyager is a cost-effective, high-quality satellite terminal designed for end-users in the government, oil and gas, media, and relief sectors. It is the only terminal available in the market capable of achieving streaming IP rates of up to 384 kbps as well as user-definable asymmetric streaming.

Thuraya-IP-Voyager

Randy Roberts, Vice President of Innovation at Thuraya said: “Reliable connectivity and mobility are essential for users who need to communicate with their field teams and to file reports while on-the-move. The Thuraya IP Voyager broadens our Land IP portfolio and is part of our strategy to give end-users the power of choice when it comes to having high-quality, reliable connections at competitive prices, no matter where they are.”

Thuraya IP Voyager enables remote users to collaborate reliably and efficiently using video, data and VoIP services to achieve mission-critical tasks in areas that are not served by terrestrial communication networks. It is designed to connect at IP broadband speeds of up to 444 kbps while on-the-move and includes a built-in Wi-Fi access point as well as four Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports to connect multiple wired devices.

Asher Faredi, Product Manager of Land Data at Thuraya said: “Many parts of the world remain unconnected by terrestrial networks. In developing the Thuraya IP Voyager, we listened closely to our customers to understand their needs and we were able to design a robust “comms-on-the-move” terminal that it is easy to install and facilitates real productivity in the field. There is an opportunity in the land vehicular terminal market, which is now being addressed with the Thuraya IP Voyager.”

GTC will have pricing available shortly for the Thuraya IP Voyager.

 

 

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.

Our pick of the top 5 gadgets for your next expedition

Hike in desertEvery January we get plenty of enquiries from people full of enthusiasm to plan their next adventure. Of course, for those planning trips in remote areas satellite communications are often an essential part of their trip not only for keeping followers back home up-to-date but also for their life-saving SOS functionality.

Here’s our pick of the best gear for your next expedition:

DeLorme inReach Satellite Trackers

DeLorme-inReach-SE-Satellite-Tracker

The DeLorme range of inReach Trackers are award-winning satellite communicators that use the Iridium global satellite network to enable communication anywhere in the world.  The trackers offer 2-way personal and SOS communications and remote Follow-me/Find-me tracking and have been used by numerous GTC customers to track journeys all over the world.

Can I see the inReach in action? Check out Jon Beardmore’s DeLorme page, driving on a 25,000 mile round trip to China/South East Asia and back.  https://share.delorme.com/JonBeardmore

DeLorme Satellite Trackers are available from £150 ex VAT

BGAN Satellite Internet TerminalsThrane-Explorer-in-Use

BGAN terminals are ideal for travellers who need an internet connection during their trip. We offer a variety of terminals, all offering speeds of at least 384 kbps.  Although they are not as fast as the speed home broadband connections we are used to these days they are fine for sending and receiving emails, photos, updating blogs and general internet browsing.

Who uses a BGAN terminal? British adventurer Leo Houlding counts a BGAN terminal in his top five expedition gadgets:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/09/expert-guide-gadgets

BGAN Terminals are available from £1,115 ex VAT

Thuraya SatSleeve

thuraya-satsleeveThe Thuraya SatSleeve is a world first in satellite add-ons, transforming an iPhone 4/4S/5 into a satellite phone, allowing you to send and receive SMS messages and make calls using the Thuraya network, which covers 2/3rds of the planet.  It’s great to know that you can use your normal iPhone in areas of GSM coverage to reduce costs and have the back-up of the SatSleeve in more remote areas.  The iPhone 5 version also allows you to use data services to update your Facebook and Twitter pages.

Coming soon…Thuraya SatSleeve for Android handsets

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/thuraya-launches-satsleeve-for-android

Thuraya SatSleeve is available from £415 ex VAT

Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite PhoneGlobalstar

With inclusive plans offering voice and data calls for as little as €0.15 per minute and the lowest handset prices in the market, Globalstar sat phones are hard to beat. In 2013 Globalstar became the only mobile satellite service provider to deploy a second-generation constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, allowing you connect to one of the most advanced and modern satellite networks currently available. With pre-paid plans being launched at the end of Jan Globalstar is a great value handset.

Who uses a Globalstar sat phone? Team Savoir Faire used a Globalstar phone on their round Britain rowing challenge http://www.gbrow2013.com/

Globalstar GSP-1700 is available for just £250 ex VAT

Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone

6The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the newest satellite phone currently available. Not only does the 9575 Extreme offer Iridium’s global coverage for voice, data and SMS but it is the first satellite phone to offer the fully integrated services of customizable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notification services with the 2 in 1 design allowing you to carry one less piece of kit!

Who uses the Iridium Extreme? Mountain Guide Bruce Goodlad relies on his Extreme, see his review here:

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/bruce-goodlad-review-of-iridium-9575-extreme

Iridium Extreme is available from £735 ex VAT

Have questions about any of our expedition kit? Give us a call on 01202 801290.

Thuraya Launches SatSleeve for Android Phones

Following the success of the Thuraya SatSleeve for iPhone Thuraya have launched a version for android phones.

SatSleeve for Android Compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, the new game-changing product allows Samsung Galaxy users to turn their own smartphone into a satellite phone to make phone calls, send SMS messages and access apps via Thuraya’s satellite network when they are unable to connect to a terrestrial GSM network.

The Thuraya SatSleeve eliminates the need for carrying a separate satellite phone. Users only need to dock their Android smartphone into the Thuraya SatSleeve and operate it normally via the Thuraya Satellite network. Its built-in SOS button allows users to call one predefined number even without their smartphone attached. Additionally, users can send SMS messages, send and receive email, and access popular social media and instant messaging apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp, among others.

SatSleeve_GALAXY-S4_1

Randy Roberts, Vice President of Innovation at Thuraya, said: “This latest release of the SatSleeve illustrates Thuraya’s focus on market needs by addressing the installed base of Android devices and enables us to provide easy access to satellite services for our Android customers. Thuraya is progressively working to provide our users with flexible choices for their satellite communication needs when they are travelling or working from areas unserved by terrestrial networks. Whether our customers need connectivity through voice or data services, we are there to keep them connected.”

“The launch of the SatSleeve for Android demonstrates Thuraya’s ability to deliver market-driven products to reach even more end-users. The lines between MSS and consumer technology sector are blurring and we are proud to lead this change,” said Alex Lachner, Senior Product Manager, Voice Services at Thuraya.

The Thuraya SatSleeve for Android will be available to buy from our website soon.

5 Questions To Ask Before You Choose Where To Purchase Your Satellite Phone

checklistWhen looking to buy a satellite phone we know that you probably have lots of questions on coverage, phone features and whether the handset is right for you.  We also know that you have options when it comes to where you buy your satellite phone so make sure you consider these extra points before making that important purchase.

 

1. Have I been given all the options available?

Make sure that you have considered all available satellite phones before making your purchase.  Some retailers only offer higher priced models which may offer features that you don’t require.  At Global Telesat Communications we offer all satellite phone models currently supported by the manufacturer:

  • Iridium: 9505a, 9555, 9575 Extreme
  • Inmarsat: IsatPhone Pro
  • Globalstar: GSP-1700
  • Thuraya: SG-2520, XT, XT DUAL, SatSleeve

2. Does the phone come with all the standard accessories?

Most satellite phones come with a wide range of accessories to get you started including wall chargers, DC chargers, data cables and handsfree headsets.  Some retailers sell handsets without all the original accessories to offer a lower price but this is not always clear – this is an important point to remember when comparing prices.  At Global Telesat Communications we always provide our satellite phones with the original manufacturer’s accessories.  The standard accessories that should come with the phones are:

  • Iridium Handsets: Battery, Leather Holster, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, DC Charger, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset, Antenna Adapter, Auxiliary Antenna
  • Inmarsat Handset: Battery, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, DC Charger, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset
  • Globalstar Handset: Battery, AC Charger
  • Thuraya Handsets: Battery, AC Charger with 4 int’l adapters, USB Data Cable, Wired Handsfree Headset

3. Are the top-up options reasonable?

It’s always great to get a bargain but make sure that you check what your ongoing costs will be.  If you are planning to top-up regularly or take out a contract be sure to enquire what the ongoing top-up charges will be otherwise you may find yourself losing money in the long run even after saving money on the intial purchase.  At Global Telesat Communciations we constantly monitor competitor pricing and offer some of the lowest pricing on top-ups in the UK.

4. Does the phone come with the latest firmware pre-installed?

Your phone’s arrived and you can’t wait to get started! But first you have to fiddle around installing firmware.  Save yourself the hassle and check that the sat phone comes with the latest firmware pre-installed.  If it doesn’t, ensure that the retailer does this for you before dispatch.  We always ensure that our handsets are ready to use out of the box as we know you will be keen to get testing!

5. What after sales support is offered?

Too often you receive excellent service in the lead up to a sale but not so much after sales support as you might want!  We offer support via phone, email, Skype, webinar…whatever is best for you.  And unlike other retailers we are happy to help with your enquiries outside of office hours via email.

Do you have other questions you want answered? Give us a call on 0800 112 3919 and we will do our best to help!

 

 

Use your iPhone with the new SatSleeve with Data to send emails and use apps without GSM signal

Now in stock!

Thuraya SatSleeve with Data now in stock

Thuraya SatSleeve with Data now in stock

Thuraya attracted a lot of attention with the launch of their SatSleeve iPhone adapter earlier this year and they have continued to keep the gadget fans happy, first with the launch of the iPhone 5 adapter and now with the highly anticipated SatSleeve with data capability. The updated model allows you to use data services to access apps and email on your iPhone via satellite.

The new release not only allows users to make phone calls and to send SMS messages via Thuraya’s satellite network, it also enables them access to emails, as well as popular social media and instant messaging apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp among others. Thuraya SatSleeve users can now post news updates, chat via messaging apps with their contacts as well as send and receive email from the most remote locations in satellite mode. The device can be used across Thuraya’s extensive satellite network with coverage in over 140 countries.

Thuraya’s GmPRS service offers the highest data speeds of all the networks for portable satellite phones – you can obtain speeds of up to 60kbps downlink and up to 15kbps uplink which makes their newest product a very viable option for those who want data connectivity in remote locations.  Furthermore the GmPRS service is now standard on all new Thuraya SIM activations.

The new SatSleeve data will be compatible with iPhone 5 with adapters available to convert the product for iPhone 4/4S use becoming available at a later date.

Thuraya unveils new SatSleeve with data capability

thuraya-satsleeveAfter the successful launch of the original Thuraya SatSleeve earlier this year Thuraya have launched a new model with data capability.

The new release not only allows users to make phone calls and to send SMS messages via Thuraya’s satellite network, it also enables them access to emails, as well as popular social media and instant messaging apps such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp among others. Thuraya SatSleeve users can now post news updates, chat via messaging apps with their contacts as well as send and receive email from the most remote locations in satellite mode. The device can be used across Thuraya’s extensive satellite network with coverage in over 140 countries.

Thuraya Coverage Map

Thuraya Coverage Map

Thuraya’s GmPRS service offers the highest data speeds of all the networks for portable satellite phones – with this service enabled you can obtain speeds of up to 60kbps downlink and up to 15kbps uplink which makes their newest product a very viable option for those who want data connectivity in remote locations.

The new SatSleeve data will be compatible with iPhone 5 with adapters available to convert the product for iPhone 4/4S use.

We expect to have stock of the Thuraya SatSleeve Data in October, to stay up to date with stock levels register for SatSleeve Data Updates.

We Offer Great Deals on Post-paid Airtime for Satellite Devices!

At GTC we work hard to bring our customers the best service possible and this includes offering great deals on airtime. We have a fantastic range of post-paid airtime contracts from leading satellite network providers Globalstar, Thuraya, Inmarsat and Iridium and we have ensured that our contracts are very easy to set up and can all be completed online.

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoThuraya-Satellite-Network-LogoIridium-Satellite-Network-Logogtcltd-globalstar-hplogo

We offer a lower calling rate per minute on post-paid contracts than many of our competitors do which means that if you choose to buy your post-paid airtime with GTC you can enjoy savings throughout your entire contract term! The lowest calling rates that we offer are from Globalstar and cost just €0.60/£0.50 per min and our Thuraya rates are almost as low, starting at only $0.80/£0.51 per min on the NOVA plan. Our Inmarsat rates start at just $0.90/£0.57 per min and our Iridium rates start from as little as $0.63/£0.40 per min.

Many of our monthly fees are also cheaper than other airtime providers and we are pleased to announce that we have created a great new deal on Thuraya airtime and have lowered the monthly fee from $40/month to $30/month.

We do not charge activation fees for any of our Inmarsat post-paid contracts and the majority of our Iridium and Globalstar contracts and this sets us apart from many of our competitors who ask for a $50 start-up fee.thuraya-satsleeve-iphone

We understand that some of our customers will not want to be tied into long contracts and so we have designed our post-paid airtime options to offer flexibility. Most of our post-paid contracts are available with a one month term, as opposed to the minimum one year contracts that most of our competitors offer.

Another advantage of our post-paid airtime options is that our customers have access to a simple-to-use database called SatCompass so that they can monitor their airtime traffic usage.

Check out our website where you will be able to find more information on all of our post-paid contracts and airtime.