WARNING Costs to phone an Inmarsat Isatphone Pro

Back in June we did a northern Simpson trip for three weeks, we were due to meet others in the desert, one couple we were meeting early had a Inmarsat Isatphone Pro.

We had to get incontact with them on two occasions via their sat phone, we were in mobile phone range so we used the mobile phone.

Yesterday we got our first monthly bill from Telstra since being back, we are on a corporate business plan so we have a very constant phone bills.

When the bill got opened it was noticed the cost was about $70.00 above norm..... had a look at the bill and found two sat phone calls we made, one for about $58.00 and another for $11.00.

The one for $58.00 was for just over two minutes and the $11.00 one was for just over 30 seconds.

We quired Telstra and stated we wanted to know who was profiteering..... strat away the costs got credited.

Our two argument to Telstra was; the people who work for us can call our Iridium phone thats with Pivotel for the cost of a standard mobile call and this cost comes of our monthly allowance or it's free during business hours...... why is it so expensive to phone a satellite phone.

The second argument was if we phoned our friends using our Iridium phone to their Inmarsat Isatphone service we would be paying around $2.70 a minute compared to $19.99 a minute from a Telstra mobile or landline....... plus connection fee.

We got an answer back.... and it seems our friends like many others have the highest call cost per minute of any sat phone.

"* Inmarsat was the world's first global mobile satellite communications service offering satellite communications services to maritime, land-mobile, aeronautical and other users.Formed as a maritime-focused inter-governmental organisation over 20 years ago Inmarsat now supports links for phone, fax and data communications at up to 64kbit/s to more than 210,000 portable terminals on ships, vehicles and aircraft. Inmarsat operates a constellation of geostationary satellites designed to extend phone, fax and data communications all over the world and these satellites are controlled from Inmarsat's headquarters in London.Inmarsat users include ship owners and managers, journalists and broadcasters, health and disaster-relief workers, land transport fleet operators, airlines, airline passengers and air traffic controllers, government workers, national emergency and civil defence agencies, and peacekeeping forces.
* Access to the Inmarsat Satellite Network is provided by "Xantic" which is a joint venture between KPN of the Netherlands and Telstra. The Satellite Network provides satellite coverage via two land earth stations to over 98% of the planet's surface.

What are Inmarsat calls?

* From a customer perspective, Inmarsat calls are calls made from a fixed Telstra residential or business phone to a person or business with an Inmarsat (satellite) terminal.

What are the Features and Benefits?

The main reason people use satellite communications is so they can be reached in remote locations where there are no other means of communication

Who is this for?

Picture the customer Customer who may benefit most

Customers who make voice/fax/data calls from a Telstra fixed phone to Inmarsat terminals are customers who wish to contact friends, family or businesses who only have access to a telephone service via an Inmarsat Satellite terminal.

Typical users of Inmarsat terminals are in remote locations and include the mining, oil, shipping and fishing industries, the military, cruise ships and 4WD enthusiasts.
* The cost of a call from a Telstra fixed and mobile phone to an Inmarsat terminal depends on the type of satellite terminal the customer is calling. The Inmarsat terminals which customers may be calling, range from Inmarsat mini-m which is roughly the size of a laptop computer, to Inmarsat-A which is quite large and fixed - normally to a ship.
* For pricing of calls to Inmarsat services refer to the table below or use Soroban.
* When using Soroban the Inmarsat destinations are listed in the Country drop down box, beginning with INM-GAN ISDN (0011 +87) through to INMARSAT-M (0018 +87). Although 0018 access is listed, Soroban will not provide a cost, as calls to Inmarsat destinations are not possible using 0018. Soroban will display an error message when you choose a destination beginning with 0011 or 0015 - simply click OK to display the call cost.

Pricing for calls to Inmarsat services

Cost per minute. Calls are charged in blocks of 30 seconds or part thereof.
GST incl

Calls to Inmarsat Aero numbers beginning with 8705


Calls to Inmarsat B numbers beginning with 8703


Calls to Inmarsat B HSD numbers beginning with 87039


Calls to Inmarsat BGAN numbers beginning with 87077 and 87078

$19.99 per minute

Calls to Inmarsat M numbers beginning with 8706


Calls to Inmarsat Mini M numbers beginning with 87076


Calls to Inmarsat GAN ISDN numbers beginning with 87060


So be very careful who you phone and what sat service they use or you might be in for a shock.

The cost to people dialing a satellite phone was the main reason we went with Pivotel, outgoing call costs are good but it's the ability for our staff, family and friend to call us on our sat phone and not get a rude shock when they get their phone bill.

My biggest gripe is why can on carrier charge an arm and a leg and another charge so little...... someone is make a good profit.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:06

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:06
Yep, its been posted here before. Inmarsat are taking a huge chunk of the sat phone market - so to retaliate companies like Telstra charge a huge fee to call their sat phones. Liek you, many people have been refunded the money when they complain to Telstra about the Telstra charges.

The biggest problem you had was that your friends were unaware of these costs. We use an Inmarsat phone - If anyone calls us, we tell them we'll hang up and we'll hone back from our satphone - because phone calls from an inmarsat phone are $1.31 per minute (we buy a 100minute block of prepaid for $131).

Also worth noting - messages sent to our satphone via the Inmarsat website are free - thats right free! SMS to the satphone are cheap. So the message is to use email or SMS to contact people with an Inmarsat phone.
AnswerID: 514931

Follow Up By: mountainman - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 09:26

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 09:26
damn, my normal mobile is at a minimum dollar a minute.. plus connection charge..
for an extra 10 cents id beable to run a sat phone for similar costs.

yet your sat phone is 1.30.
FollowupID: 794118

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 03:04

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 03:04
dont panic too much mountain man, there are a few downsides to most sat phones.
The delay in voice being the main one-makes it near impossible to use for everyday calls. The first minute of every call to a "civilian" is explaining that there is a delay and to not jump in.

Other is that most handsets are at a minimum the size and portability of a late 90's cell phone with a large aerial.
FollowupID: 794203

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:34

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:34
We have a satellite phone and anyone who wants the number gets warned that they cost heaps to make a call. No matter what company you are with or who pays.

Besides that if your paying then you will remember to keep it short. If the other person is to pay then it's common courtesy to keep it short.

One reason for the difference in costs between companies is that some companies do not have one in Australia. Thus they are all international calls.

Like Phil G said, it has been posted many times. We also have free emails to the satellite phone phone and cheap outgoing GPS location emails to tell the family where we are and all is fine. All we have spent on it is about $40 after the initial purchase in early 2010.


AnswerID: 514933

Reply By: Member - Phil (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:34

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:34

I have a Telstra pre-paid mobile and it costs $2.20 a minute or part to call and 20c for a text.
When I purchased the IsatPhone pro I looked up the cost of calls from my mobile to the Isatphone on Telstra's web site under call costs from your pre-paid mobile and it gave the call costs as above. I even rung and also sent a text to the sat phone and the call costs matched what was on Telstra's site.
I wonder why the cost difference between pre-paid and a plan.

The call cost from my Optus wireless home phone is $18.50 a minute or part. I found this cost on my Optus account after making a 45 sec call. Optus had previously told me it cost less than a dollar to call the sat phone.

My sat number start with 87077

AnswerID: 514934

Follow Up By: Lex M - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 23:06

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 23:06
Hi Phil

Which Telstra prepaid plan are you on please.

FollowupID: 794112

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:25

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:25
Your definitely on Telstra 'rip-off' pre paid ... I have a PrePaid for my young fella ,$30 = $220 calls + 1cent text + FREE calls 6pm to 6am 7 nights per week ,, then due to hardly ever using up the $30 because of free time we transfer $10 units 2-3 times near the end of the mth to his prepaid internet account === basically unlimited phone & internet for $30 per mth.
FollowupID: 794122

Follow Up By: Member - Phil (SA) - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 13:56

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 13:56
Hi Lex

Telstra Pre-Paid Simplicity

FollowupID: 794134

Reply By: DiscoTourer - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:35

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 22:35
Highway robery.

I rang my old mans Inmarsat phone from my office VoIP with iinet, and it was $11 per minute. I rang from my Vodafone work mobile, and it was $2.15 per minute.

Rang iinet and had a blow up with them....they dropped the cost down to match my Vodafone call....I had to provide them evidence.

Makes me wonder who was actually doing the fleecing, Inmarsat or Iinet.....but from my expirience it was the latter, the same as yours.

AnswerID: 514935

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 23:06

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013 at 23:06
It does make you wonder when you can dial my Iridium sat phone and you're charged the cost of a standard mobile call.

We also use Optus Mobile Sat and it costs us about $2.30 per minute to phone them from our landlines and mobiles.

Satellite phones are like credit card fees..... nobody can tell you who is making the BIG profit and they all blame someone else.

FollowupID: 794111

Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:44

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:44
When travelling remote I advise Family & Friends that if they want to contact me, to e-mail my sat phone (nil cost) and I will phone them back. Costs about $1.00 PM charged by the time used.
As I normally only turn the sat phone on after I have set up camp at the end of the day this works for me.
Regards Mike.
AnswerID: 514950

Follow Up By: Zebra400 - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:57

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:57
Mike, we do the same. We have friends/family email us on our Inmarsat phone. To ring them back is $1 per min with no connection fees like other carriers.

Where cost is important to you, then the Inmsarsat is a fantastic sat phone to have.

We don't give the phone number to anyboby, just the email address. They just have to remember not to include anything in the subject line, and just use plain test, and limit the email to 160 characters. We wouldn't be without it on our outback trips.

$100 of calls to be used up over a 2 year period is a great plan for us.
FollowupID: 794125

Follow Up By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:42

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 16:42
With the new pricing the limit is now 6 months instead of 2 years.
I believe that You still have the 10 years to register the credits to the phone so You can actually have 10.5 years.
I still have a couple of 2 year blocks that I bought when the $us was $1.05 guess I had better do a couple of trips over the next few years.

FollowupID: 794143

Follow Up By: Member - gaz 290 - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 19:11

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 19:11
I have a inmarsat isatphone pro prepaid and found that texting was was very good and as good as a mobile phone and as phoned on emergency only. The cost of a text is the same as a normal mobile text. Friends i met in the outback also complained about Telstra charges. Happy travels
FollowupID: 794193

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