Sat Phones #2

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 22:36
ThreadID: 10093 Views:2844 Replies:4 FollowUps:14
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Back again.

I noted a response from Graeme in my earlier posting which I hope will elicit some interesting replies.

I am also in the process of purchasing an Ericsson R290. As part of my research I spoke to a niece of mine who works in the industry and she gave both the unit and the price I'm about to pay her seal of approval.

The question relates to service providers and what they have on offer. This unit is suitable for Global Star but I'm unsure if there are any other carriers. Optus, it would seem are still in the button-up boot stage, in that they only service in-car units of limited manufacturers, rather than hand held dual sat/gsm as above.

The plans provided by Global Star are somewhat less than exciting with regard to costings.

So finally to my question .... To all sat ph users, what options do I have re service packs, or am I limited to Global. In this event I will maintain my current Optus GSM plan which suits me to a tee and only invoke a sat service when and for the term that I go bush.

CheersFidei defensor

Rosco
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Reply By: John - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 23:30

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 23:30
Ross
I am with Telstra / Iridium and I personally am on a plan. $28.00 p/month.
With Telstra you do have an option of using your GSM sim card in the sat phone and paying no monthly sat service charge, BUT you will pay International roam rates both to and from the phone.
These rates are much higher than the respective plan rates per minute.
Have a look at Telstra Country Wide web site for plan rates.
It really depends on how much you use your phone, if purely for emergencies then using your GSM sim card in the phone can be a very cheap option.

I do not know all that much about Globestar but I was talking to a bloke in Birdsville 3 weeks ago and he had one and said that he had a lot of blank spots (No Service) My understanding is that Globestars satellites are much higher altitude and fewer of them.
His view was that the Iridium system was far superior and would go with Iridium if he had a choice.
If my memory serves me I think he also said it cost $50.00 per month plus call cost if you work it on an activate when you need it casual system.

I also am prety sure you will not be able to use the phone you are talking about with any other sat service.

By the way I paid $500.00 for my Motorola Iridium phone from a fellow user of this site through the Trader section of this site.

How much are they wanting for the phone you are looking at ?

Regards
John
AnswerID: 44688

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 23:38

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 23:38
John

Thanks for the feed-back.

$520 all up brand spankers with the usual bits and pieces ... 240V and 12V chargers, 2 x Li ion batteries etc with 12 months warranty.

CheersFidei defensor

Rosco
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FollowupID: 306825

Follow Up By: landie - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 09:14

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 09:14
Ross

I am with Global Star and have the Ericcson R290. I have not experienced any problems with coverage, however I have little doubt that there will be black spots in Australia with any of the providers, at certain times. This is similar to GPS.

I am through Voda-phone for my GSM on a no plan basis. I get GSM at 60cents per minute and pay $10 for Global Star access. The call rate for Global Star is $2.97 per minute, both outward and inward (the first 10 seconds of inward are free).

I elected to go this way as I have it for emergency communications only and don't need to pay for a plan I will rarely use.

Iridium does not charge for inbound calls to the phone, however the caller will be billed at ISD rates. In contrast, callers to Global Star only pay mobile rates.

I have HF through Radtel/VKS and usually use Radtel to make calls as it is cheaper, although not private.

Cheers
Landie

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FollowupID: 306844

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 09:31

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 09:31
Landie

Would you know offhand whether an external aerial is available for this unit?

CheersFidei defensor

Rosco
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Follow Up By: landie - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:39

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:39
Hi Ross,

From a website....

Ericsson has also designed a range of useful accessories including the R290 car kit which features a handsfree option so it can work in all three modes via a combined car-mounted satellite and GSM antenna. In addition, Ericsson has developed an R290 portable handsfree and two types of carrying cases that will simplify and help usage in different situations.

Cheers
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FollowupID: 306858

Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:19

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:19
Thanks for that tip, John.
I also have a Sat Phone (Motorala) which I got from Ebay for $510. Only 6 months old. I did not know about the GSM card option, so will see the Telstra man when I go up next week to het hooked up/connected.
Cheers
JackNo trees were harmed in the making or sending of this message.
However a great number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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FollowupID: 306878

Follow Up By: John - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:54

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:54
Hi Jack
Remember you will pay International Roam rates for all your outgoing calls as well as paying the rate for calls made by others to you.
Beware that if others have your GSM number and call you whilst the card is in your sat phone you will pay the high rate.

If you only use it for outgoing emergencies only it is a good option.
I use mine for business so it was a better option to go on a plan.

As I said have a look at Telstra Country Wide for rates etc.
Or contact them to discuss your options.

Regards
John
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Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:13

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:13
landie, why the sat phone if you have radtel with hf radio ? curious as i am getting a hf fitted in 2 weeks for radtel in emergencies to call home as Lex's mum is 80 & you never know.Regards Bob
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Follow Up By: landie - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:26

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:26
Hi Bob

More of a risk management exercise, when something goes wrong Murphy's Law suggests it all goes wrong. Hence I didn't want to rely on one form of communication in the case of an emergency. We have a young son who accompanies us on all our trips and for our piece of mind we elected to have both.

Personally I find the HF far more useful as you have access to the resources of both Radtel and VKS 737, regular skeds, weather etc, all for the cost of an annual fee. Also help might only be a sandune away on HF.

However, both have their limitations (lest I start a great debate on the merits of one over the other!)

Cheers
Landie
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FollowupID: 306893

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:50

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 16:50
Thanks landie, I have been looking at this for age's & decided on hf for the reasons you mentioned + its my xmas prez from santa ( only fair as she got a new digital slr camera) so thanks for setting my mind at restRegards Bob
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FollowupID: 306897

Follow Up By: Graeme - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 18:10

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 18:10
In FollowUp 4 of 9 posted 29 Jan at 9:39

Landie said:
"From a website....

Ericsson has also designed a range of useful accessories including the R290 car kit which features a handsfree option so it can work in all three modes via a combined car-mounted satellite and GSM antenna. In addition, Ericsson has developed an R290 portable handsfree and two types of carrying cases that will simplify and help usage in different situations."

What website???????? Please.
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Follow Up By: landie - Friday, Jan 30, 2004 at 12:35

Friday, Jan 30, 2004 at 12:35
Hi Graeme

I did a search under Google and from memory it was an Ericcson website. The detail was from a press release.
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Reply By: sean - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:37

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:37
I have had both Globalstar and Iridiium and used both extensively across most of Australia, I had 2 GLobalstar handsets for a bit over 2 years.

DO NOT GET GLOBALSTAR...............

Globalstar relies on you being within a certain distance to a ground station. If you get too far, you are in a blackspot and the phone will not work. This is not uncommon. I know of whole areas where phones would not work.

If the nearest Globalstar ground station is down for maintenance (this does happen) you cannot make a call for a day or so becuase the next ground station is too far away (I experience this problem confirmed by Vodaphone).

Globalstar technology is not as good meaning that service is patchy at best of times. Sure the phone might work well but usually with a drop out after a few minutes.

Telstra Iridium Motorola 9505 is a superior piece of equipment that comes with EVERYTHING you need including spare battery, external antenna and a robust small handset that can still pick up calls when clipped to your belt. None of the Globalstar phones present these options. Telstra is not 100% but is a much more robust signal and in my experience is very reliable.

The telstra iridium phones are heavily subsidised by Telstra as part of service to the bush and therefore present very good value. If you buy Globalstar then you might find in a year or so you might not be able to give the phone away.

Sean

AnswerID: 44713

Reply By: goldfinder - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:40

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 10:40
I am with globalstar and use a Telit550 with an optional in car hands free kit. I also use a similar payment setup to landie and mainly use the Sat part of the phone for emergency and short calls. If you are sensible and keep calls short and don't gasbag for long periods costs are not to bad. I use SMS a lot as this keeps costs down as well. The incar kit gives full communication even when driving and was the main reason I chose the Telit over the Ericsson. When I purchased approx 2 years ago there were no incar kits for Ericsson's. My understanding of the Globalstar network is that they use low earth orbiting sats as opposed to Iridium who use high Geostationary sats. With Globalstar you don't have any delay when you talk and so far in 2 years of use I have never found any so called black spots in NSW,VIC,SA,WA and NT. The only state I haven't tried it in is QLD and TAS if you can call that a state. I believe there are a couple of zones where they are intentionally blocked and one of these I think is within 25km of the Parkes Radio Telescope but you have digital recetion there anyways.
AnswerID: 44714

Follow Up By: Cobra - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 11:04

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 11:04
Iridium have 66 low earth geostationary satellites while Globalstar have 3 high orbiting satellites. When Iridium crashed a while ago we went to Globalstar. Sat service was poor, lots of dropouts, only positive there was no speech delay. When Iridium came back, Globalstar was ditched
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Follow Up By: goldfinder - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 19:10

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 19:10
Iridium has been and gone and is back again. Doesn't that say something bad about iridium. When I first bought a sat phone iridium didn't exist(must have been when they went broke or something) and Globalstar was one of the better sat choices at the time.
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Follow Up By: Cobra - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 20:26

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 20:26
The reason Iridium crashed was that the North Americas were not making sufficient profit. The Asia Pacific market was in the black but not sufficiently so to keep the northern market afloat. The new owners are providing a good service. We use sat phones for work as comms can become critical to our operation, therefore Iridium is the provider of choice. Globalstar is too unreliable
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FollowupID: 306923

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:28

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 14:28
I have previously hired a Telit Globalstar for use on big trips and found it to be 100% reliable. On that basis I have just ordered one of the $520 Ericssons (at that price it is not much more than three weeks hire).Bob
AnswerID: 44744

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