sat phone with Telstra sim - update

Thanks to everyone who responded regarding my earlier query about getting a Sat phone working with a post-paid Telstra sim card. There was some debate about what Telstra would and wouldn't do, so I thought I'd update with my own experience.
Having bought a sat phone from ebay (with the intention to resell in a few months), I went to a Telstra shop to ask about their $10 post-paid casual plan.
Staff had no idea when I mentioned using the card in a Sat phone so after that I stuck with the line that it was for an "old Nokia" instead.
I was initially told I could get global roaming simply by ringing up Telstra. However later in a different store I was told this was not possible unless I had been a post-paid customer for 6 months.
I took out the plan and rang Telstra, who said they could activate the global roaming within 24 hours. Great, I thought!
36 hours later no global roaming so I rang to check and discovered they had cancelled the application for it....because I hadn't been a customer, as referred to above. Outrageous that they didn't follow through with their initial representation, but perhaps predictable based on the warnings given here.
Anyway, they WOULD activate it if I paid $300 into my account. This will be refunded if I close the account with any money unspent. Annoying to have to pay this deposit, but gets around the problem nevertheless, so may work for some people.
What I don't know is how to find out how much sat phone calls will cost to make and receive (someone here mentioned $4 each way, but where is that info held? Also, do you only pay if the sat phone is answered?)
And another question - should I have data roaming activated or not? I remeber someone said get everything, but is there any chance my Sat phone will start communicating data and I'll be up for huge fees?
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Reply By: Member - kym111 - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:07

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:07
Hi Carolyn
I can't help you much, except to say that we purchased a new sat phone through Indigo last year. They've now gone into liquidation, and we transferred over to AST, who use Optus as their provider.
From memory, our calls are about $1.50/minute, and about 50c per text, regardless of whether the call or text is incoming or outgoing (I think). Please don't take this as gospel, as I haven't got my pricing sheet handy at the moment. We are on a $29/month plan.
I'm not sure what the data roaming is like, I think it was on the expensive side, so we've decided to go with a Telstra pre-paid wireless dongle.

It's casual, so not locked in for 12 or 24 months, we can cancel when we like, there was a start up fee of $80 with Indigo, and due to circumstances, didn't need to pay this again when transferring to AST. However they do have a similar start up fee for new customers.

We are Telstra customers for our landline, internet and mobile phones, however when I looked at their plans etc, I didn't like what I saw, so that's why we decided on Indigo. There are others out there, but again, I didn't like what they were offering. The casual option suited us and wasn't too expensive.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 508196

Reply By: Bazooka - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:54

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:54
Can't help but don't forget to check if 1900 numbers are barred

AnswerID: 508201

Follow Up By: Carolyn R2 - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:56

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 21:56
Is it good or bad to have them barred?
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:06

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:06
Your sat phone may not work with the Telstra SIM if they're barred Carolyn. It's in the link.
FollowupID: 785637

Follow Up By: Carolyn R2 - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:35

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:35
Thanks bazooka, sorry missed the link
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Reply By: jo b1 - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:07

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 22:07
Interesting.....I suppose Telstra are onto what's going on and are simply making it more difficult for obvious reasons.
It is a touch under $4 a minute to receive and make calls even though the Telstra PDS says $4. From memory our call costs averaged into calls made is $3.66, why who knows.
Do a search on the Telsra site for satellite costs and all costs are there, it's a big document and you need to scroll through it slowly to find the Next G sim costs in a satphone.
AnswerID: 508203

Follow Up By: Member - The old fellow - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 18:06

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 18:06
Hi I have a rather old sat phone and I just swap the SIM card from my Telstra next G phone with international roam into the sat phone and it works like a charm.
As I only need it occasionally it means I have no plan to worry about.
FollowupID: 785757

Reply By: Mark - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 17:54

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 17:54
I had the same issue a few years ago with an Iridium phone. Telstra would only activate global roaming if I paid $300 in advance, I did this and it slowly got eaten up by the $10 a month. I did not make many calls but back in 2010 it was $3.77 a minute. You could also send text to and from other Telstra mobiles but not Optus I seem to recall.
If you plan to use the phone often you would be better off with an Iridium plan through someone like TR telecom in Melbourne. I did this when travelling through Africa and you can have a short term 3 month plan for around $30 a month and it includes some calls etc. Also free to receive text so family could send text through Iridium web page.

Also it is understood that you can dial 112 from an Iridium phone in australia even without a SIM installed to contact emergency services, I've not tried this personally though.
AnswerID: 508424

Reply By: Mark T6 - Tuesday, Apr 09, 2013 at 11:42

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2013 at 11:42
A question please (for any using this system now)

I have an old 9505A phone which when I went last year I connected to a TR Telecom casual user plan (3 months) and it worked fine ...not that we had to use it thankfully!!

I read on here, and on Pradopoint where you can use your existing GSM SIM, so as I a doin the CSR in July I gave it a try over Easter in Fraser a point where no GSM coverage existed.

It worked a treat....I could just dial any numbers just like I was calling from the mobile, so a call to a mobile 04...... and I was able to call my home number in Brisbane by just dialling 07.......

I am aware that callls are $4.00 a minute, which is expensive BUT as the TR Telecom plan is now 6 months (3 @ $35 and then you can deactivate and have 3 @ $25) this seems like a pretty good plan.


When reading the PDF from Telstra it says that the GSM SIM will only work in areas covered by normal mobile????

I point out this wasn't the case up at Fraser...can anyone confirm that it does work everywhere???
AnswerID: 508551

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 12:41

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 12:41

It certainly works everywhere in my 9500 phone, worked out on the Madigan Line last year and there is definitely no mobile coverage out there.

FollowupID: 786194

Reply By: Mark T6 - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:10

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:10
Thanks for that last comment, yes my opinion is that Telstra put this clause in their Terms and Conditions knowing that we all do this but not really wanting us to do this and so saying "only works in GSM areas"

Clearly when I had a crack at this just near Indian Head there was no GSM coverage, I tried that first as I wanted to test if this worked...and it did.


The calls in and out are bloody expensive.....but the way I see this is that with the TR Telecom minimum costs (are there any others out there that have shorter plans????), we'd be able to make / recieve 45 minutes of calls befire we were behind.

And we are NOT using this for keeping up to date with the grand kids only for an extreme emergency (oh there is one of those finding out the score for State of Origin 3 that's on when we are somewhere along the CSR), so it's possible that the phone might not even get used once (well maybe once)

Thanks for the update
AnswerID: 508654

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:21

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:21
I just get a $10 month Casual Plan from telstra when i'm going away, no fixed term can cancel any time, enable int roaming.

If you have your regular sim in the sat phone then when anyone calls you and don't know you are away the calls get costly.

You get a new sim and mob No. on the $10 casual plan and then only give family or whoever you want to contact you and you don't get any unwanted calls at $4 per minute.

FollowupID: 786197

Follow Up By: Mark T6 - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:36

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 13:36
That is indeed a good idea, although it's my wifes phone (SIM) and pretty much the only ones to have that number are her immediate family / and our daughters / sons in law whom would all be threated with the death penalty if they rang!!

I would never even think about putting my work phine SIM in there
FollowupID: 786200

Reply By: Member - silkwood - Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 at 22:15

Thursday, Apr 11, 2013 at 22:15
"I was initially told I could get global roaming simply by ringing up Telstra."

If this is true, and you can prove it, Telstra have to abide by that statement (so long as money has changed hands or been contracted to). There are no if or buts, it is regarded as an implied warranty. ACCC now have jurisdiction in this area.


AnswerID: 508784

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