Has anyone used a sat phone with internet access or the sat modem?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 12:28
ThreadID: 101369 Views:1907 Replies:4 FollowUps:7
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Hi All and hope you are enjoying Easter.A friend of mine told me about sat phones with internet access and sat modem.The company they recommended is http://www.indigotelecom.com.au/products-accessories Has anyone used there products and how did you find the service and cost compared to other options?Thanks Stuart and Gunny
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:11

Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:11
No answers for you Stuart and Gunny; just questions.

The XT Dual phone is dual GSM and satellite and I cannot ascertain from the Indigo website if internet connection is only whilst in GSM range, or whether you have satellite coverage internet as well. If the latter, I expect that downloads would come at a price :O


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Follow Up By: Member - Stuart and Gunny - Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:35

Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:35
Hi Motherhen,i can not work out by there web site what the phone does but i am not up to date with all these things.Did you look at the sat broadband modem.It looks only the size of my 4g wifi?Im wondering is that practical use and cost.Bye Stuart and Gunny
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:47

Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 16:47
Thanks S&G - I hadn't clicked that far. If it works it would be great for those prepared to pay the cost (which no doubt would not be cheap). Those I know with satellite internet have to set up and use a satellite dish.

I note this thread http://www.exploroz.com/Forum/Topic/100432/Thuraya_satellite_telephone_SG2520.aspx but it has not been substantiated, and the Indigo website is working.

From the link I cannot be certain which network the modem uses. If it is on Thuraya previous threads on Thuraya network indicate it is not as reliable for gaining coverage in the southern part of Australia. I have no personal experience with Thuraya.

When I click on the Post Paid Plans link I get a Malware warning.



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Reply By: Member - kym111 - Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 23:02

Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 23:02
Hi Stuart and Gunny
You won't be able to go with Indigo, as they have gone broke, and were taken over by AST in December 2012. We signed up with Indigo about 6-8 months ago, and have recently transferred our plan over to AST (Applied Satellite Technology), who run their network through Optus.

We didn't get the handset with GSM capacity, only satellite and internet, as we figured with 2 mobile phones with 4G connection and a 40 channel UHF, GSM wasn't necessary. The handset is the Thuraya XT. Quite clunky as far as phones go, but a lot smaller than the Telstra handset that my parents purchased a few years back, and very easy to use - just like the original mobile phones!

We've used it twice since we've had it, not for internet access (haven't worked that one out yet). I think we plug it into the laptop to use as a modem. We purchased the handset outright at $999 less rebate, and are on a $29/mth casual plan. Indigo offered $20/mth (higher call costs), which is one of the reasons we chose them, but at the end of the day, it's a safety measure for when we're in the bush, so cost isn't the total factor.

Telstra were too expensive, both to buy and their plans/contracts. Indigo/AST offer the casual plan with no locked-in contract. We can cancel, upgrade etc as we need to.

If you want more information on the call costs, plans etc, let me know and I'll scan and email the details.

Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Member - Stuart and Gunny - Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 23:47

Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 23:47
Hi Kym.Thanks for your information.I will ask a few questions if you dont mind.What does GSM capacity mean?I have got a 4g phone with an external antenna plus a splitter for the 4g wifi.I would like a sat phone for safety but if i could get one that had internet capacity and the fees were not over the top that would be great.Did you look at the sat broadband modem and what did you think?It does not appear to much bigger than my normal wifi device.If the usage is not over the top in price it would be great.I have just recently got my motor home and am trying to learn quickly what i need for out back traveling.The best way to learn is ask people who have been there and done that.Bye Stuart and Gunny.
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Follow Up By: Member - kym111 - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 00:33

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 00:33
I'm no expert, but I think GSM is digital network connectivity. Perhaps one of the other forum members has more knowledge in this field?

I can't find right now the forms that state what the internet connection fees are, but you would probably be better using the internet through your mobile phone, or purchasing a mobile broadband wifi device.

We're going to go with the Telstra 4g prepaid broadband at $149 for the device, and $180 gets us 12 gb with a 365 day expiry. Plus with the 1.5gb/mth allowance on the mobile phone, I'm sure we'll have enough. There is the option of the Bigpond 4g broadband, that is on a contract though, and we didn't want contract.

We're like you, we're just starting out, got our caravan in Sept 2012, and plan to start the big lap sometime between July and Sept. We're in the process of packing up our recently sold house, organising kids schooling requirements, and everything else that needs to be organised in the process!

There are some great people on this forum, I've learnt heaps from them all over the years as we've researched caravans, tyres, 4x4 accessories, trips etc. Its a fantastic community, and I hope to meet some of them on the road as we travel!
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 08:45

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 08:45

What is GSM? There are basically two digital phone technologies in use around the world, CDMA and GSM. Australia has adopted the GSM system and so CDMA phones from overseas are useless in Australia. Details here.

You are probably aware that although the 4G network is expanding, right now and for quite some time in the future, the 3G networks are the most widespread. Telstra's is far bigger than Optus'. Telstra's Next G is an enhanced version of 3G, and currently offers the best terrestrial based coverage of areas away from significant population centres.

We find that we don't make much use of internet access on the road. With a Next G phone acting as a modem we are rarely out of range for more than a few days, and Telstra's data packs provide plenty of capacity to handle email and a bit of browsing. We avoid doing things that need lots of bandwidth (eg sending big photos) and find Next G reasonably economical and entirely adequate.


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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 09:45

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 09:45
Stuart and Gunny

I haven't done it yet but its on my list of projects (sadly longer than my forecast life expectancy). I have a 9505A with a Bury cradle which has the serial cable attached ready to plug into computer. My satellite provider is TR Telecom.

This link has all the info required on how to do it, and the necessary software.


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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:35

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:35
Satellite internet connection. What next?

This "need" and almost unending search for more and faster ways to remain "connected" or to be in range of the internet, emails and mobile phone reminds me so much of the Borg from the Star Trek movies and TV shows. A Borg member, for want of a term, was at a total loss and had no real aim in life without the link to the Borg. Just a useless body who only had one aim, to be "reconnected". I hope we are not heading that way.

I don't know how many think the same but we go bush to get away from the rush and bustle of city/populated places. Why take it with you!

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Follow Up By: Member - Stuart and Gunny - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:16

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:16
Hi PJR i understand your point and agree but i will be traveling with just my dog in remote places.I know i will meet plenty of interesting people on my travels.There will also be alot of time it will just be Gunny and i.It would be good to check emails,send pics of where i am and check weather and road conditions.Not to mention keep me occupied if the weather keeps me locked inside for a period of time .Bye Stuart and Gunny
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:56

Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:56
And so many people have their good valid reason to be part of the mob. I just wonder why they do not stay home and do the trip on the internet. Maybe thats where we (not me) are heading also. Virtual holidays? God forbid.

Once in the car what happens at home stays home. I have a satphone for emergencies. The mobile stays at home. The family can look after themselves. Didn't see a car in the Simpson for two days. Ahh the bush. And no chatter on the radio, doof doof stuff or stupid ring tones to break the silence.

We can exist without taking computers, iphones and TV with us. Seems like more and more cannot.

But if you need it then go for it. Don't get me wrong. I am not anti technology. I just feel the demise of the individual. We are becoming so Borg like and unable to be or do anything on our own.


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