Satellite Phone plans

Submitted: Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:06
ThreadID: 101978 Views:3681 Replies:6 FollowUps:30
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all, i've been reading every post about satellite phones on here and everywhere else on the internet and am totally confussed!

Basically, we have purchased a Motorola Iridium 9500 Satellite phone for a 2 month outback trip we are taking later this year. We do alot of travel and thought in the long run it would be better to purchase a second hand phone than constantly hire one.

Phone will be used for emergency purposes only, so call cost isn't a huge deal.

What we are confussed about is what is the best plan, who do we go with etc? We would idealy like something that would last us just for the 2 months and then when we travel next time, we would take out another plan - like a prepaid sim or similar. Don't really want to sign up on a long term contract.

I've also read conflicting stories about whether Telstra prepaid sims do or don't work. Does anyone have any feedback based on what you've used/experienced?.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Rod W - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:20

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:20
Then you would have also read about the government subsity which if you buy a phone outright (and go pre-paid) the govt gives you a 50% subsity. This subsity scheme expires in June. I went this way with an Isatphone and pre-paid as it works for me.
AnswerID: 510195

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:41

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:41
But OP has purchased the phone Rod. Current subsidy cannot be retrospective.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788281

Follow Up By: Rod W - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 21:23

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 21:23
You're absolutely correct motherhen, I didn't read it properly
0
FollowupID: 788292

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 21:30

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 21:30
But good advice for those looking at purchasing Rod :)

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788293

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:26

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:26
When you say emergency is that for yourselves only phoning out or is it for family and friends to be able to get in contact with you in an emergency back home.

The reason I ask is most only think of an emergency is if something happens to your self or someone traveling with you, an emergency can also be to do with someone not travelling with you...... your son/daughter is involved in a bad accident and are on life support and looks like not making it through the next few days, people need to get incontact with you.

Most people who only think of an emergency is for someone travelling with you will more then likely have the phone turned off when not needed...like most of the time.

What I am getting at is some say you can use your Next G sim if you only need it for emergencies..... the thing is most forget to swap the sim from their mobile phone to the sat phone unless needed.

When we travel we are contactable 24/7 on the sat phone and mobile phone when in range.

Our sat phones are on plans so I can't help you with short term use.
AnswerID: 510197

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 16:42

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 16:42
No contradiction from me.

We do the same as for the mobile phone when we even take it. We turn our satellite phone on just before 7:30 PM Canberra time every evening in case someone calls. We also then download any emails. Which are free to the "home" station and send our location emails to the grandkids who like to map our travels.

However our kids are grown up (40+) and can manage quite well without us. And do the same with our house, pets and belongings. So we do not need or use 24/7. Some do - we don't.

We have an Isatphone on prepaid and no 3G sims etc. Not even on the mobile.

Still "old school" here and quite happy to stay that way.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788269

Follow Up By: Member - Chargergirl76 - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 19:35

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 19:35
Yes, looking at emergency calls in and out (should have specified that!). Want to be able to call out if we have an emergency, but also need others to be able to contact us if there is an emergency. For that reason, we wanted a separate sim and not reply on swapping from from our normal mobiles
0
FollowupID: 788289

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 14:42

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 14:42
I agree about the outgoing calls. But I must have missed something about incoming emergency calls. We have three responsible sons and two neighbours that would handle any immediate action emergency for us.

Which incoming calls would need immediate action by you that couldn't be handled by any responsible person back home until the agreed sched. Our 7:30 one.

We cannot do anything about the broken leg, fire or burglary when we are thousands of kilometers away can we.

But this is just us. Not everyone is the same. I guess that we are lucky that our family is grown up. And also that we do not have the urge to be "in the loop" all the time. No facebook or twitter in our house. I don't mean to belittle some peoples activities but is it really necessary 24/7 when you are supposed to be on holiday.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788333

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 16:30

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 16:30
Never wishing it to happen, but lets say that someone close to you has a very serious car accident or life threatening injury, just 1/2 hour after your agreed call time. You wont know anything for another 23.5 hours.
Don't know about you, but I can travel a long way in 23 hours.
Could be the difference.

Cheers
Peter
0
FollowupID: 788338

Follow Up By: Member - Chargergirl76 - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 16:59

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 16:59
I agree Peter, we definately need incoming aswell, we will have kids back home and elderly parents. Although we may not be able to "do" much from thousands of Kms away, would still like to be informed ASAP and be able to plan immediately (whether that be getting home ASAP or whatever).

Everyone is different though and has different views and needs, that's just how I see it all working for us!
1
FollowupID: 788343

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 17:11

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 17:11
Our satphone is carried in a pouch near the passenger's ear and is 'on' and plugged-in to the external antenna & the 12v charger at all times.
Apart from being ready to receive incoming calls it is already 'online' ready for urgent use without waiting for the locate & log-on process. Plus the battery is always at full charge.
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788345

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 17:42

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 17:42
Yes Hard isn't it.

In fact it has already happened. I am not going into the details. Altogether for me personally three siblings and two parents have passed away so far. And both my wife's have also. Most without warning and sudden. And some remote.

I was just explaining what we are ready for. I have had three very serious scares and we have all said enough already. We really mean it when we use the word "love". It is to be treasures. Maybe that's why the 23 hours really would not be a hassle to us.

Each to his own.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788349

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:55

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:55
Allan

How much was the external antenna and have you got a link?

Last time I asked I was told $1500. That was two years ago now.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788356

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:26

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:26
Phil unfortunately not all of us are as tougherend as you, even responsible adults can crumble in some situations, maybe a grandchild (if you have any) had passed away suddenly and you daughter or son needs a daddy/mummy comfort fix, some parental advice or support in a difficult time of their lives...... don't laugh it can make all the difference and change a bad situation.

Or the other thing someone maybe looking after you loyal 8 year old canine mate ( you know the one you do everything with) and something happens to it, it gets taken to the vet and the vet says to your friend $4000 to fix it or we have to act fast to save it or it will have to be put down within the hour to stop the pain and suffering..... imaging what your friend is going through...... utter hell..... what's the right decision, if they could get hold of you you can make the decision.

Maybe someone might want to share some special news with you and brighten you day up..... I'm getting married, I'm getting a divorce, were having a baby...... you know those things that can't wait another 18 hours.

There are many scenarios where a sat phone left on 24hr 7 days is a benefit.

Phil it doesn't cost you anymore to leave it turned on and it's not like a normal phone where everyone is going to phone you and disturb your peace.

I have a sister who for years had a mobile phone..... when we needed to get hold of her it was alway off, I asked her one day why do you turn it off....she said "nobody is going to phone me on it so I turn it off" when asked why do you do that; she could not answer.
0
FollowupID: 788362

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 23:40

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 23:40
Again I will say it. Each to his own.

I am also darn well aware that there is no cost to leaving it turned on. DUH

We may leave it on if we had an external antenna and a cradlke. But when last quoted it was over $1000. Well over. But we don't. Simple.

Our choice.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788367

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 00:24

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 00:24
Hi Phil,
My Motorola 9555 came complete with a vehicle antenna+adaptor but I have just Googled 'motorola 9555 vehicle antenna' and came up with several Australian suppliers with prices of about $183 for the magnetic-mount antenna (IR-01-PAA0601) and $85 for the required adaptor (IR-01-H2AA0801). You may do better from USA.
The adaptor is a more than just a patch cable. It is a cradle that clips to the phone and carries a short patch cable. No idea why it is so expensive. The cradle does not mount the phone nor incorporate the 12v charging cable, that is separate.
There are antennae for earlier models listed also.
The antenna is about 60mm dia x 15mm with a magnetic base and 1.5m cable. The cable is thin enough to be accommodated through the door rubber seal, although I have installed mine through a sealed hole in the roof.
Without the external antenna there is no reception inside the vehicle. Maybe if you were to hold the phone near the windscreen, but a bit difficult to talk on it in that location. LOL
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788370

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:20

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:20
I googled it last night Allan and got this one External antenna and dock. Still too expensive.

If we were in Alice Springs and we got a death bed message we would immediately park the car and hop a plane. I wonder how many of my critics would drive home so that the car wouldn't be trashed. What's more important. But to find an extra $500 is not easy. The car is insured.

To olcoolone, chargergirl and TTSA and others of our friendly Borg society who wonder why we are so callous and don't want to be a part of the 24/7 Facebook, Twitter and mobile phone society, I will put it this way.

Our three more then forty year old mature sons can handle it all until we get home. They don't live in out shadow any more. In fact they haven't for almost 20 years. They are all married and have their own families. They are all successful businessmen with their own companies and have the support of their friends in their local groups. And it is a pleasure, a real great pleasure, for us to be able to turn the phone off and get away from the rat race and not have to take a phone with us "just in case".

Here is another fact about the way we live. The last things turned on whenever we get home is the TV and then the computer and then maybe not even until the next day. All-be-it a day or a month away. Same, same every time. The messages won't run away (unfortunately) and the news will still be crap anyway. Parramatta will still have lost !!!!!!

Have a good day. Off to Sydney soon for the Parramatta game (shut up you lot - they MAY win)

Thanks

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788372

Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:35

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:35
Hmm, yes Phil, the Isatphone antenna kit does seem a lot more expensive than the Motorola. Sorry, as we had been discussing Motorola I made the assumption yours was the same.
I do have to agree with you that the world will not stop turning if you receive a message an hour-or-two late...... unless of course it was about a silly football game! LOL
Cheers
Allan

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788373

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:47

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 08:47
Gotchya. I thought that you mentioned a while back that you were not into footy. Gotta start the day with a laugh.

If I had it my way I would take the whole family with me into the bush. Two of the boys just lashed out and bought cars for the trip to Cape York. I meant it when I said that they were successful. We are so proud of them. We know they will do the right thing if we are away.

Thursday's surgery is killing me. They found more to cut out when they had me on the table. Luckily we changed to full sedation. Bloody ouch.

Catchya

Phil

0
FollowupID: 788374

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 12:34

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 12:34
Phil, Just let me point out that it was YOU that asked,
"Which incoming calls would need immediate action by you that couldn't be handled by any responsible person back home until the agreed sched. our 7:30 one"

All I did was politely give you an example.

I don't wish to labelled a "Borg" just for a bit of advice that you asked for. I don't give a damn how successful your kids are, they can still get into a situation where YOU might rather be at their bedside rather than your neighbour.

No airports where I go for a holiday, so if you're in Alice Springs, bad for you. Not my idea of a holiday. Anyway, as you have said it is YOUR choice, and i'm not trying to change your mind, just answering your original question.
0
FollowupID: 788384

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:06

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:06
Very true. And if we were all in a room and you could see everyones body language then it would be easier. But on a forum it is impossible to read body language.

It was not all directed at you personally. Apologise.

I only have the satellite phone because the doctors would only approve my remote travel if I had one. Plus I have to have a carer with me - More doctors orders. And I don't want to lose the full medical cover, which can happen if I do not follow my doctors advice. Nothing to do with being connected. If I had my way I would leave it turned off and only turn it on when we, or someone with us or that we came across (like that), needed help.

Alice Springs? Here we are, all on this thread talking about the use of satellite phones for remote travel and you didn't even realise that I was using Alice Springs as an example. I gather that unjustly feeling insulted you didn't understand what I the real jist was.

Phil
0
FollowupID: 788385

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:26

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:26
All cool Phil, i get your point of "old School" and everything. I also understood you not at Alice Springs. I have medical issues also and that is the main reason we carry a sat phone so I can get urgent help or advice.
Sitting in a room or even better around a fire would be much easier.
Safe travels
0
FollowupID: 788386

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:30

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 13:30
It's a real pain sometimes. You can't even take the mickey out of someone with a wink.

I wish you well with yours. Look up waldenstroms macroblobulin emia.

Catchya
0
FollowupID: 788387

Reply By: TTTSA - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:38

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 14:38
In my opinion the best deal for you is go to Telstra, connect to their $10.00 month CASUAL PLAN, they give you a new sim card and No. so you can choose who you give this No. to and every tom, dick and harry is not ringing you. When you finish your trip you just cancell the plan. No min term of contract applies, well probably 1 month at least. This is what we have used for the last 7 or 8 years and works great.
Don't forget to get the sim, international roaming enabled.

Cheers
AnswerID: 510199

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:58

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:58
Yep that's what I do, and if you don't make a call other than to 000 it will cost a whopping $20 for 2 months.

Just don't tell the Tesltra shop what you are doing, and get overseas roaming activated ( you may have to get Telstra to do this 2 - 3 times as they seem to forget). If you tell Telstra you are putting it in a Sat phone they will insist that you can do it and you will get confused.

Calls are $4.00 per minute outgoing AND incoming. You get a normal 04xx xxx xxx number. You will get a new Standard sized SIM that will fit the 9500.

The alternative if you have a Telstra postpaid is again ensure it has international roaming enabled and get a card carrier. zJust put the card in when you want to make a call. But as TTTSA said if you have messages lined up to come in or calls, stand back from your phone bill. $10 per month will look cheap.
0
FollowupID: 788266

Reply By: jo b1 - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:13

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:13
Firstly a smart choice purchasing an Iridium phone as you can call 000/112 emergency if you need it unlike some of it's competitors who don't allow this which is very odd.

Another vote for the Telstra post paid $10 sim, not prepaid as they won't work. I choose to pay the $10pm and keep it as we use it a few times a year. This sim also goes into a Next G phone while travelling within tower range as our everyday phones are not Telstra and are useless out of the suburbs.

Go into a Telstra shop and ask for the sim with IR enabled and away you go. Don't bother telling them what it's for as you will only confuse them.

It's your choice, keep it or cancel when you return and resign on your next trip but that would be a hassle if you travel regurlarly.

Joe
AnswerID: 510202

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:44

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 18:44
It is not very odd Joe - the reason being that Emergency Services 000 do not want to be open to nuisance calls and mis-dials from all over the world. They are aware of the issue and looking at ways around it.

That is the best advice for someone wanting emergency use only.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788282

Reply By: Member - Geoff F (VIC) - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:35

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 15:35
TTTSA is correct - Telstra is the cheapest option, because there is no separate plan. If your phone is a Motorola 9500, you will have a problem though, because it takes the old large SIM, and you can only use the current small SIMs if you have a large size adapter. I know you have bought the phone, but a better choice would be a Motorola 9505A which takes the current SIMs. I am surprised someone is still selling 9500s, which were the first satphones. See if they will swap, or approach some satphone renters. If you only turn it on occasionally, then we just swap the SIM from our everyday mobile. Unless it's turned on, you won't pay for received calls. If you cancel all diverts on the mobile, then you will receive a text messages if someone calls, and a text message if someone leaves the 10sec message. Outgoing texts are at the standard international 55c rate, which is handy. Why take out another plan, when your current Telstra mobile plan covers you. If you don't have a current Telstra mobile, then the $10 plan is the way to go. As Joe says, beauty of Telstra is that all calls are to normal numbers, including emergency numbers.
AnswerID: 510204

Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 17:40

Thursday, May 02, 2013 at 17:40
Hi Geoff, are you saying that you cancel all diverts on your sat ph or normal ph.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788271

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff F (VIC) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 13:05

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 13:05
Hi Grundle, We cancel all diverts on our normal ph, which becomes the sat phone when we swap SIM. With Telstra, if you cancel all diverts, then if you are busy, unavailable etc. the caller is asked if they want to leave a 10sec message. If they do, the msg is converted to text, and sent to you as an SMS. You actually receive 2 texts, one says you missed a call from xxxx, and the second text if the caller leaves a msg. Costs you nothing, therefore cheaper than using messagebank, which costs to call. All this happens on the sat phone if you have used the same SIM.
0
FollowupID: 788318

Follow Up By: craigandej - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 20:48

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 20:48
Great idea, just did it on my 9555 with my Telstra SIM installed. You do it through setup, call options, call forwarding, then untick all options.

Cheers
0
FollowupID: 788490

Follow Up By: Farms - Monday, May 06, 2013 at 08:51

Monday, May 06, 2013 at 08:51
Hi Geoff,
I am thinking of buying a second hand 9505A for about $500 and use my Telstra SIM card that I use on my iPhone.
Do you have a 9505A and being an older model does it serve you well?
We only plan to use it for emergencies when travelling, so this seems to be the best way.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Regards, Peter
0
FollowupID: 788509

Follow Up By: jo b1 - Monday, May 06, 2013 at 10:59

Monday, May 06, 2013 at 10:59
I have a 9505A which Ive had since new and is about 8 years old now and is still going strong.
Joe
1
FollowupID: 788514

Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Monday, May 06, 2013 at 16:32

Monday, May 06, 2013 at 16:32
Hi again Jeoff,Do you have a external aerial when you use your normal ph outback of Burke as your Sat ph.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 788529

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff F (VIC) - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 08:42

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 08:42
craigandjel - you're right. In fact everyone travelling overseas should cancel all diverts. farms - I have a 9505A which works perfectly everywhere we have been right across Aus. It is typical Motorola, tough as nails. Very basic menu. I bought mine secondhand from a sat phone rental company in WA. Used to be used by a mining company. It came in a case with chargers and external antenna which is very small round unit with magnetic base. Grundle - I have the external antenna, but never needed to use it. It does seem to make the initial connection a bit quicker, but quality is excellent with or without it. If anyone needs pics send a member message.
0
FollowupID: 788827

Reply By: craigandej - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 23:21

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 23:21
Hi
We recently purchased a second hand iridium 9555.
I went to Telstra Ballina (our local) and told them I wanted a $10 per month casual plan SIM to use in a sat. phone.

No probs at all, & you can activate global roaming yourself online once your number is issued. Just give your phone number to those who need to contact you, as incoming calls are charged to you also.

When dialling out just dial as you would with a mobile, no country codes needed. Same for incoming calls as your number is just a mobile number. When texting out however you need the country code ie 61 4XX XXX XXX.

Prepaid SIM's will not work at all.

Cheers
AnswerID: 510284

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)