Sat Phone - Which, And Best Way To Buy

Given that our travel plans will encompass a fair bit of outback travel this year, I wondered if it would be a good idea to take a satellite phone.

We were enticed by a seller at the Newcastle Caravan Show to have theirs, and I feel the even with a govt subsidy, the phone they are offering, is overpriced.

Has anyone here have a satellite phone?

What brand is it?

Is there a best brand to buy?

Am I better off buying a new/used phone off say, E-Bay, and arranging connection myself?

Many questions but need many answers

Robert
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Reply By: Rod W - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 09:28

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 09:28
IsatPhone and prepaid
AnswerID: 505284

Follow Up By: sweetnam - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:04

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:04
I run a motorola extreme - 9575 with Pivotel

Very happy with the setup and assistance from Pivotel - no probs at all

I ended up putting an external aerial on the bullbar to assist with signal, that way I can leave the phone on in a cradle and still get strong signal rather than temp set ups.

B
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Follow Up By: sweetnam - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:05

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:05
Sorry - on Iridium
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:54

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:54
What did the external install cost all up? Thats with all parts and labour.

When we got our phone it was about $1K.

Phil
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Reply By: toffytrailertrash - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:18

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:18
Isat phone, pre-paid $1.00 per minute which is less than what I paid for my mobile, almost anywhere in the world.
AnswerID: 505291

Reply By: PeterInSa - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:29

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 10:29
We have a Isatphone prepaid also purchased with the subsidy.

But if you want to use the phone for emergencies only I would look for a second hand Sat phone on the Net that works on the Iridium Network ( Network used by Telstra) then I understand that you can put your next G Sim card in the phone when switched to roaming and make calls, may be a bit expensive eg $3 a minute ( this is a guess) but if you do not make many/any calls you can live with the cost.

Then again a second hand phone on the iridium Network could cost more than an Isatphone with subsidy

Peter
AnswerID: 505292

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:59

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:59
Same here. Isatphone purchased with the subsidy and on prepaid. It's just for emergencies and the nightly GPS email back to the grandkids. We have only made two calls in two years. First to see if it works okay from home and another to change a booking at Mt Dare.

Quite happy with it. Not into chatting. The grown up and married sons can look after themselves and all the rest can wait until we get home.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 18:57

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 18:57
Hi,Just got a email back from telstra that says they only have a 24 mth plan at $30 a mth.It becomes a very expensive exercise if thats all they offer. Does anyone know more about this.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 19:08

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 19:08
That would be $30 a month too much. A block (I forget the details) came with the phone as new. That's why we went prepaid. Only spent $30 approx in the two years buying another bunch of units. No monthly fees.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 12:50

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 12:50
The subsidy ends in June. See the other recent thread for details.
AnswerID: 505306

Reply By: muffin man - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:38

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 14:38
The majority of seasoned outback travellers would be on the iridium network. Loads of advantages over the others with the main one being the ability to call 000/112 in an emergency, eg medical not vehicle problems.

Next G sim must be post paid not pre paid.

On that, I'm not sure what would happen if you were on the phone with your prepaid satphone and the credit runs out in the middle of an emergency, got me beat, go post paid for peace of mind.

Muffin Man
AnswerID: 505314

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:47

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 15:47
You can only dial those numbers direct if the phone if connected through an Australia Iridium provider like Telstra, Pivotel and a few others.

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 15:13

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 15:13
Hi Robert

Depending on how long you will be away, you may qualify for the Governments Rebate.

There are many good units around but the one that suited my requirements to a tee was the IsatPhone Pro, on the Pre Paid basis.

The features that attracted me were its cheap price after my Government Subsidy (under $400), no lock in monthly fees, as it is pre paid, if for any reason that I do not use the phone for an extended time, my phone number and SIM Card is still valid and only requires a top up to get the phone active again, and cheap to make out going calls and anyone can send you a 160 character text message for free from the web.

There are a number of pre paid vouchers available, and we also carry a 50 unit voucher in the back pack. I have used it in a number of true outback remote locations and the phone worked first time, every time and locked on to the satellite very quickly.



Go for the IsatPhone and you will be very happy.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 16:00

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 16:00
Robert,

We bought an Iridium phone, with Telstra, back when the only choices was this or the Pivotel predecessor.

Got the subsidy but pay $50/month, with $20 of free calls. Seems expensive, but I take the phone with me every trip, twice/week, so gets some regular use.

Recently had a breakdown in the truck, south-east of Cloncurry, and as the mobile network was down over 75% of Qld, was able to ring the workshop on the sat phone, for advice. Made 5 calls for a total of just over 10 mins for $16.55, so they were free. Oh, and fixed the breakdown with a piece of No.8 wire out of a nearby fence!

Changing to a cheaper plan is one of my "gunna" jobs, but we've had plenty of use of the phone, often in an emergency situation on 2 or 3 occasions.

Bob.
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Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 505324

Follow Up By: Gunny! - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 11:40

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 11:40
Fence wire. That's awesome! I have an old boss that was full of out-of-the-box improvised solutions for sticky situations...

Just to confirm, you can buy an isat phone and use it on the telstra iridium network? pre or post paid?
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 17:29

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 17:29
Sorry Gunny, know nothing about Isatphones, except what I've read on here. Think they are a completely different network.

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Gunny! - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 06:07

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 06:07
Yeah since reading this article and a few others on this site. I have done a little R+D in to the whole thing... Have a clear understanding about what phone works with which network etc. Looks like ill be going with an iridium extreme via telstra.
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Reply By: Member - Legendts - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:39

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:39
Robert, I have just gone through this exercise and I agree with Stephen L. The Isat phone worked out the best for us. Main use will be for emergency situations. I was also able to get the subsidy and the phone cost was just over $100 plus a prepaid 100 minutes good until December 2014 at a cost just under $200.

I used ClientSAT and spoke with Rob who was knowledgable, very helpful, efficient and can highly recommend him.

Disclaimer: No affiliation just a satisfied customer.
AnswerID: 505346

Follow Up By: Member - Legendts - Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:47

Friday, Feb 22, 2013 at 21:47
Meant to add that as we do not have mobile cover at home were able to get the full subsidy hence the low purchase price. From memory the full price of the Isat Pro was around $780.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 19:31

Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 at 19:31
One of the main things you want to find out is if you can dial Australian based 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers.

There are a fair few providers here in Australia who on-sell overseas services, if this is the case you will not be able to phone Australian 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers from it.... some may not think this is important but the truth is many companies in Australia use these numbers for their call centres and don't offer or advertise a conventional number.

Another thing is check what it costs for someone to phone you from their mobile or landline.



AnswerID: 505406

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