Comment: Handheld Satellite Phone Solutions for Travellers

This was a very interesting and useful article.
I would add my experience to the Top 5 Considerations and Prepaid Plans in particular.
Don’t risk running out of prepaid airtime when you urgently need your satellite phone in remote areas.
An Inmarsat satellite phone was very helpful in resolving a vehicle breakdown, over a few days, in a remote area. I found that conversations were surprisingly long when discussing the issues and alternatives and rapidly used up the prepaid airtime that I had purchased.
I would recommend users consider how they would access the top up (recharge), which is not simple when you are out of range of the ‘convenient’ Internet and the 1300 numbers. Having an alternative to a 1300 telephone number of the service provider is easily overlooked. Top up by email does not use much airtime, should you find it is critically low. However, in urgent situations, speaking with your provider can give instant feedback. However, relying on a speedy top up can be disappointing – in my case I waited 9 hours for a top up to be effected which was too late to make important follow up calls.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:06

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:06
Why didn't you get them to ring him you. I already discussed this with the family, mates, the RFDS and emergency center staff here in Canberra as well as my mechanic. And it is printed in big bold letters on my handout on how to call us. What happened to commons sense before you even left home. Sorry mate but this is quite simplv organised with a little forethought.

They all said that they would ring back after an initial call be me asking for help. Of course I would reimburse them when I got home. Any normal considerate person would do that without even being asked. Just grab a "thank you" card from the newsagency, stick the funds in it and hand it over with the slab etc.

Prepaid is not an issue if you preplan.

Phil
AnswerID: 518882

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 09:30

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 09:30
Ouch!
What hurt you? He just shared a good idea.
Yours is good too, the answer is probably a bit of both.
But is it necessary to be so patronizing in the process
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FollowupID: 798831

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:26

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:26
I wasn't patronizing.

One of the main reasons that we get satellite phones is to be able to actually "discuss" the issue or emergency. That was my doctors condition on getting one. So that he could actually talk to me and later even link up with my pacemaker. He can now from home.

An EPIRB will not allow any of that. So they send out the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Organise a work around before you leave. Much, much better. Beats wasting money. Better to spend it on a first aid course.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798832

Reply By: olcoolone - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:59

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:59
QUOTE " I found that conversations were surprisingly long when discussing the issues and alternatives and rapidly used up the prepaid airtime that I had purchased."

Good on you for not getting the people you phoned call you back, to phone a Inmarsat phone can cost up to $21.00 per minute and in most cases it does cost that, I would be very cranky if someone phone my business or me personally and asked me to phone them back........ and I got a phone bill with one call of over $100 for 5 minutes of free advice.

The only people we phone back if they use a sat phone are our regular customers in remote areas...... at least we can charge it back to them if needed.

The problem with a lot of these pre paid cheap sat services is they don't recognise 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers....... most large organisations use these numbers...... we have a 1300 number but over the last few years we have been promoting our standard landline number for this very reason.

We use Iridium through Pivotel and also Optus Mobile Sat and we don't have a problem with these numbers.
AnswerID: 518884

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 15:25

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 15:25
$21 a minute!! My son called me on my Isatphone and it was less than $2 a minute according to him. I think that we are not getting the whole story. How do you explain the difference between the $4 and $21? I can't.

I also do not have any issue with those numbers. I do not call them when remote. Aren't they meant for in-country calls and are usually switched to a "local" number. Doesn't the holder of the number make up the difference and thus effectively pay YOUR phone cost. I think it's a bit unfair asking them to pay for your satellite phone call.

Also if you are referring to my comment about asking people to call back then I suggest you read it again and do not only quote or use one part of the comment. I recommend to anyone reading this bit to go back and see what I said.

Please tell me who else other than Isatphone has a prepaid satellite phone account account? You always seem to be knocking Isatphone yet you have never given me a better prepaid option.

Our phone has cost us a total of $30 for the last two years. That is why I prefer it. Why should I pay a monthly fee if I do not use it.

We check the balance before departure and only use it for emergencies. Called a mate to see where he was once - short call and cost $4.30. Haven't had one yet but am prepared. We do send daily GPS updates. I think they cost 25 cents each or thereabouts.

So we do not have to do any recharging while travelling.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798849

Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 15:51

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 15:51
Phil, my old mans Inmarsat phone is $21 per minute to call him. The deal is now he will call me and I will reimburse him for the call cost. Inmarsat website shows the call rate and depends on the sat phone number prefix.

My iridium sim in my sat sleeve is free for incoming calls.....much better for me.

Brett....
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FollowupID: 798850

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 17:57

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 17:57
Would that have been from a mobile phone or something? My son called me from home.

I will quote both of you to my Isatphone contact and see what they say.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798853

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:08

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:08
Email sent. Let's see what they say.

Phil

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FollowupID: 798854

Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:45

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:45
This might save you the hassle:

Inbound call costs to Inmarsat Satellite phones.

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

Calls to Inmarsat Aero numbers beginning with 8705
$10.99/minute

Calls to Inmarsat B numbers beginning with 8703
$5.99/minute

Calls to Inmarsat B HSD numbers beginning with 87039
$19.99/minute

Calls to Inmarsat BGAN numbers beginning with 87077 and 87078
$19.99 per minute

Calls to Inmarsat M numbers beginning with 8706
$3.99/minute

Calls to Inmarsat Mini M numbers beginning with 87076
$3.49/minute

Calls to Inmarsat GAN ISDN numbers beginning with 87060
$14.99/minute

Regards,

Brett....
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FollowupID: 798866

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 21:41

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 21:41
Well that does not explain why my son paid less than $4. My number starts with 00118707764.

Where did you get that from Brett? You didn't state a reference.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798876

Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:11

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:11
Phil,

It was an email from inmarsat when I complained about the cost to call their isatphone pro (dads). Telstra charged me a $1 per minute, but the balance was inmarsat at $20 per minute. Your number has 6 digits after 0011 that are the same as my dads.

Your son may have been lucky as calls to your phone are $19.99 per minute.

This was from May this year. They suggested it was significantly cheaper for dad to ring me....I followed their advice and much cheaper now when he calls.

Brett.....
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FollowupID: 798879

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:49

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:49
I await their response.

And in any event as I said before, I would pay, so if it is an emergency so be it. Cost is irrelevant in an emergency.

We shall see.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798882

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:51

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:51
The $20 per minute to call iSatPhone has always been transparent. This recent thread confirms it is still so. Costs to call iSatPhone

Mh
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FollowupID: 798883

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:58

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 22:58
Sorry but that post doesn't prove a thing. It isn't from Inmarsat or any of Inmarsat's representatives.

I will admit that it MAY be true but until someone can come up with a link to an official Inmarsat statement then I shall wait.

The Jury is still out MH.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798885

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 23:24

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 23:24
Hi Phil

The person who first told me about the $20 per minute inwards calls when he got his iSatPhone Pro two years ago gave me a link to his provider, but I cannot access their website now. Best I can come up with for now is from a company that sells Iridium and Inmarsat phones on line.

"What can advise is we have seen charges from Telstra from our clients of up to $20 per minute when phoning an Inmarsat isatphone pro satellite phone and substantially less when phoning an iridium satellite phone." from
Satellite Phones Direct

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 04:48

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 04:48
Thanks MH.

As you may recall I do not even take my mobile phone away.

We didn't want a contract or account where we paid each month. The prepaid we have was the only one available when we got the phone.

So, as I said, if it costs heaps in an emergency then so be it. But I would still like to hear officially from my contact before I go shaming etc them in any way. I don't work that way. Well, I try!! And in saying that, I AM NOT having a go at the bloke who started this thread. He acted in accordance to what he knew. And did not shame nor bad mouth them.

I need to confirm it before I change my Emergency Contact Instructions flyer that I give to the family etc. Well maybe that would stop unnecessary phone calls about "Just don't feel like getting up" or "I have a headache". Joking. They look after themselves very well. My wife did a good job there. That's subtle!!

Fair enough?

Phil
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FollowupID: 798887

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 09:33

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 09:33
Hi

Do you carry a recharge voucher with you, and if so what value.

I keep my pre paid with credit before i leave home with around 100 units, plus have a 50 unit recharge on hand in case of such a situation. So if that was my case, I would hve around 150 minutes of talking, which should me more than enough.

I will be interested to see how much you had on both your phone and voucher before you left for your trip.

I have not checked my balance since i returned home, by one phone call was over 20 minutes when I was placing a food order for our group.



Cheers



Stephen
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AnswerID: 518886

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:16

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:16
Same here Stephen. It's so easy. (preplanning) We also never use the phone for anything other than emergencies and GPS email.

No chats because someone has a tooth ache at home, or doesn't feel good etc. The sons are all 40+ and they can deal with it.

Phil
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FollowupID: 798855

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