Satellite communications

Does anyone have experience of using the Globalstar network? The phones for this network seem to be advertised second hand at very low prices compared with Iridium

Peter H
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Reply By: Sludgie W.A - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:05

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:05
Hello Peter, I have used Globalstar in the past when they had one or maybe 2 satellites working. The system was unreliable with dropouts at any time and sat availability about 15 minutes in every hour. I upgraded my phone to Iridium and have not had any trouble in the last 18 months. Just be aware that some sat phone systems you have to use an international dialling code before you call any one, that is why I like the iridium system. I use a iridium 9555 phone although I believe they have a new model which can be used as both a sat phone and a normal mobile if in range. I don't know if Globalstar have improved since I used them however I would not go back to them...


Sludgie
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 01:27

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 01:27
Ditto to this, we had a very bad, frustrating situation with Globalstar on the GCR, when we got home we canned it and got an Irridium, that was about four years ago and have had no problems since....
Cheers
D..


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Reply By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:32

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:32
I have used globalstar in the past, and it is absolutely terrible. You need to be lucky to jag a sat when you need one.

Cheers
Al
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Reply By: PeterInSa - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:37

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 11:37
Peter
Have experience with Globalstar send me your email address to

PeterInSa@yahoo.com.au.

Peter

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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 12:06

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 12:06
Peter,

I have Globalstar.

I have to agree with the other posters above that it has been useless for the last 4 years. We have hung in there because our needs are intermittent making replacement uneconomical for us.

However they have now got their act together and over the 4 years have launched a completely new constellation of 24 new, second generation satellites, the last four of which are coming on line now.

Coverage and reliability is now pretty good and when those last four sats are in position (a couple of weeks, I am told) the system will be back to full coverage and 100% reliability (subject to normal satellite restrictions like tree cover, terrain etc.). Just about every time I switch the phone on I get 5 bars.

We prefer Globalstar because incoming calls are free for us and only cost the caller a normal mobile call fee with normal mobile dialling - good for family contact. Outgoing call rates are not too bad - we're with Pivotel.. Also, communications are crystal clear, no echo or delay and I believe data rates, if you need them, are faster than the alternative, though not sure about that now.

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FrankP

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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 13:16

Sunday, Jul 28, 2013 at 13:16
I contacted the communication ombudsman re Globalstar after I receive a letter advising that my monthly fee would be reduced to $30 as their satellites were not expected to be working for quite some years. I refused to pay anything for something that did not work by Globastars own admission.

Globalstar decided to write off my bill and give me an Iridium replacement phone.

Neil
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 01:36

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 01:36
You are lucky, they wouldn't come to the party for us, we had quite an argument too after our experience but they still wouldn't budge.


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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 14:51

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 14:51
It is funny how Globalstar changed their mind when the ombudsman got involved

Neil
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 00:30

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 00:30
I guess I just couldn't be bothered, in all seriousness I was so mad at the time I just wanted out, it was so frustrating paying for a phone that just didn't work at a time of an emergency, which is what we had the jolly thing for..... I'm still fuming about it now, I really need to let it go don't I....lol

Cheers

D


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Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 08:59

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 08:59
See them come up on Ebay quite often, surprising how many bid on them and pay good money, the sellers must love people who don't know what they are getting themselves into.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 09:01

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 09:01
BTW Iridium is not much better for drop outs...... but you know it will start working again in 20 minutes.
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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:04

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 11:04
I''ve never had Iridium drop out for 20 minutes. I sit it on the dash and it stays there on a regular basis. I've never seen it drop out for more than a couple minutes, and not that often.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 20:47

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 20:47
It's not just our, others we know off have the same issue.

Ours is mounted in a Beam car kit and is in easy view, what we find is we have a signal and sometimes when we go to make a call or receive a call the signal drops out, again it's not just ours.



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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 21:12

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 21:12
Hi "olcoolone"

I think TR's issue wasn't so much the drop out but the time period you mention - 20 minutes. This seems to be unusual (based on my own limited experience with Iridium but also on the lack of other mention on the forum of an Iridium drop out time of this magnitude).

How many times have you actually experience a 20 minute drop out with the Iridium network? Or do you mean that after a drop out you have waited 20 minutes (without repeatedly trying) and then it worked i.e. it could have been OK after 20 seconds but you never checked? Your comments so far are somewhat ambiguous in this respect.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 23:37

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 23:37
We got pretty average call quality in the Northern Simpson in June with dropouts, to give you an example we spent about 40 minutes a day on the phone, most people with sat phone are lucky to spend that long over a month.

Had the same issue with two customers, one in the Kimberleys and one in Kalumburu last month, over 30 minutes of phone calls we had 5 dropouts.



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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 14:17

Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 14:17
...Not disputing that drops out occur...just doubt the 20 min time frame you mentioned. In the absence of a direct explanation I have come to the conclusion you were exaggerating.

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Pelikan - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:08

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:08
Thank you for all your comments. I understand the reservations some of you have about Globalstar from past performance. Given Frank and Peter's comments about recent improvement and the relatively low costs for someone like me who only wants an emergency reporting device, I think I may take the risk and try Globalstar. So I will be looking for a suitably priced handset.

Cheers, Peter H
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:48

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 22:48
Good luck, try ebay.....
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 23:39

Monday, Jul 29, 2013 at 23:39
You want a phone that works in an emergency, one that can't find a Sat means it may work well as a boat anchor.



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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 10:21

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 10:21
IIRC Globstar uses a geostationary satellite to our north so phone performance in the mountainous parts of southern Australia may be compromised.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 21:07

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 21:07
GlobalStar are the same as Iridium, they both use LEO satellites, Thuraya, Optus Mobilesat and Inmarsat isatphone uses GEO sats......

Funny thing is SPOT uses Globalstar, Globalstar is the parent company.

Give me a GEO sat phone any day, as for poor performance down south, we use Optus Mobilesat phones for our service vehicles and in Alice Springs we get 16 bars out of 20 and in Adelaide we get 12-14 bars out of 20 on the signal meter....... anything above 8 is OK.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 04:30

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 04:30
Thanks for the correction.

Yeah, I use a SPOT in Vic. It works but you have to give an OK msg about 25 mins to run to be sure it gets out.

I also have an Isatphone Pro with Inmarsat. It's close to useless anywhere but appears to be one of the few. And the retailer is defined as the service provider and is not registered with the TIO so I can't use that route to get redress.
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Follow Up By: Member - RobM - Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 22:36

Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 22:36
G'day Peter,

I have used both G'star and iridium and even had a behind the scenes understanding and hands on of globalstar in my old job. (They actually run Aussie groundstations for us due to the nature of the network)

I have both phones at the moment, and have noticed a significant improvement in Gstar, but i was still struggling getting test calls through reliably. I prefer it as a network and the delay is considerably less and a little more user friendly than Iridium.
the call rates are good, and i believe they are still letting us connect and disconnect our phones without fees or minimum period (ie you could connect it for a 2 month trip and then mothball the phone and the bills) due to the state of the network.
Yes it's also great to receive calls on, no incoming charges and regular aussie mobile rates for those calling you, but with the state of the network i reckon they would mostly go to voicemail anyway.

BUT, I now just take my Iridium phone which I use on my Telstra SIM. It's super reliable even if it isn't as nice to use, and I don't have to worry about contracts.
With the telstra SIM i wouldn't use it to book into a motel somewhere due to the cost, but it is always there and reliable which is what you want in an emergency.

So both have advantages, but for me, an Iridium purely for emergencies on a Telstra SIM is a no brainer.

Rob
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Follow Up By: Pelikan - Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 17:48

Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 17:48
Hi Rob,

Thanks for that. Maybe I have a misunderstanding about how the Telstra/Iridium works for someone who just wants an emergency facility and not a chat phone. Don't you have to have an expensive prepay card anyway and doesn't this expire after a given period? My knowledge of mobile phones is poor and my knowledge of sat phones negligable. When I was long distance sailing I had an HF radio and a Pactor modem for emails, but all that's a bit pricy for a few outback trips before I get too old.

Peter H
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Follow Up By: Member - RobM - Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 18:45

Thursday, Aug 01, 2013 at 18:45
OK,

I Have a regular Telstra nextg post pay SIM. It must be post pay because you need to get international roaming enabled (which only takes a call to request it. No extra service fee)
I then put that SIM into my iridium phone and presto, I have satellite phone access.

NB. Calls and Sms are VERY expensive and not part of your included calls unless you have some international credit included. That is the big disadvantage. An Sms was 2 Bucks incoming and outgoing from memory to give you an idea!

So in summary.
Telstra nextg post pay sim
International roaming
Iridium phone.
= EXPENSIVE SATELLITE CALLS lol

I even test called RACV successfully.


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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 at 21:42

Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 at 21:42
I used Globalstar phone for about 6 years and then 2 1/2 years ago finally got the s##ts with the useless reception and purchased a isaphone on inmarsat.
Global star on pivotel was costing $35 per month with $ 30 for calls and you couldnt get eneough reception to use it up.Did manage to get a call out in an emergency once in outback QLD, then the authorities couldnt get back to us ( sats had moved on)and ended up sending locals from nearby property out with mesages re RFDS evacuation. All OK in end but pretty messy.
Since 1 july 2013 all sat phones now have to have 000 access so that aspect is no longer an issue
even with increase costs of credits on Inmarsat it still only costs 1/2 what globalstar used to charge per year. their call rates are cheaper than globalstar and even my prepaid telstra mobile.

I also liked globalstar for the cheap inward call costs for family to contact us but now the use email thru inmarsat which is free.
I know where there is a brick in a cupboard
regards
Howard
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