satellite phone info for Willem and any interested members

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 17:32
ThreadID: 11173 Views:2219 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
This Thread has been Archived
G'day Willem, recently I sent a post telling you all of our plans for our trip and the intention of aquiring a satellite phone. Initially we had decided to go with a Telit Sat600 phone but after much uming and ahing as well as a lot of investigation we have moved sideways and diagonally. I spent many hours on the E-Bay site and found an Ericsson R290, new with all accessories,GSM(cdma) capability, able to recieve SMS(but not send). This phone is brand new and only a third of the cost.
We get 12 months warranty and because we own the phone we choose the contract time through Globalstar. I did a lot of reaserch into the satelitte networks and found that globalstar is a little dearer but the phone cost outweighs the the connection fees and anyway we do not intend to be connected to the satellite 24/7.
Hope this may help you all, incedently there are still quite a few phones left on the E-Bay site. The guy selling them seems genuine, I rang him this morning (Manchester England), he'd been in Australia (WA) last year and fond the phones worked very well.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Baz (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 19:33

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 19:33
How much if you don't mind me asking, were thinking of buying as well.
AnswerID: 49973

Reply By: Peter - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 20:08

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 20:08
I bought one of the R290 phones from ebay last year from the same chap. Arrive don time and works well. I have it linked to Globalstar on a $15 plan. I don't think they have this any longer. You can suspend your account though which may be useful. You can send SMS as well as receive. The phone is GSM 900 - not CDMA. Globalstar have a new Qualcomm phone arriving very soon which is CDMA and satellite but this will be expensive, I expect. If you want to buy one direct from the same chap go to

VKS Mobile 1906

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 49982

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 20:41

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 20:41
Mighty Q I have also just bought the same ericsson rg290 but have not received it yet only paid for it 2 days ago.
The phone cost new $1995 and you like me probably only paid $ 530 delivered.
I found out you can go of and on plan through vodaphone to do so cost $30 each way.
So if you dont need the phone for 6months you dont have to pay the $ 33 per month.Have you found this.
Have you got the phone yet and have you used it any hints on things to do.

All the best
AnswerID: 49993

Follow Up By: Member - MightyQ - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 21:10

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 21:10
G'Day Eric, Like you I haven't recieved my phone yet, only paid for it this morning. I'm not sure who?, which or what plan to go with. It may be globalstar or vodaphone( i have a mobile account with them already). I mean I'm only really going to need the phone out in the desert and being able to go on and off plans is an advantage. Like you i paid $530 and I'm pretty impressed with that. Had discussions with Tech Rentals and were very disparaging of the Globalstar network, said we'd get dropouts and no sms but if we spent $1000 on a ex-rental Sat550 we'd be better of. Suggested that the only satellite network to use was Iridium.
Anyway I'll let you know how it all works out
FollowupID: 311809

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 06:17

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 06:17
Q I was talking to a guy the other day when doing my research and as he said both systems use satallites so they should both perform equally the same.
As the fellow said you only hear the bad things dont you and not all the good things.

I look at it this way my cheap little gps only ever drops out when standing under a heavy tree canopy or in a shed or similar,so the phone shopuld be same deal.

All the best
FollowupID: 311839

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 21:09

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 21:09
Thanks for letting me know MightyQ.

AnswerID: 49999

Reply By: ian - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 00:32

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 00:32
I don't know which network is the best, but I can tell you I borrowed an Iridium network sat phone last year (not in Aust) and it dropped out all the time, and I mean all the time. Never lasted more than a minute ot two, and I spent most of my time dialling. I wouldn't necessarily believe someone who told me they were the best, but I haven't used others either.
AnswerID: 50036

Follow Up By: Member - MightyQ - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 01:16

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 01:16
G'Day Ian, yeah man! I hear what you say, the 'guy' that was rcommending Iridium actually worked in the industry, the company he works for were 'only' recommending that I go with Iridium, kick-backs and all that i presume!!!.
I've just gone to the Globalstar web site and seen their world wide coverage map, looks impressive(for Australia at least).
I suppose one can expect drop outs at anytime with any network, as my wife says 'just as long as it doesn't drop out whe I'm bitten by a snake'.
It's a safe-guard
FollowupID: 311838

Reply By: Member - Bob - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 07:53

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 07:53
I've said it before but I bought the R290 recently as well. Mine is GSM not CDMA, although I won't be using the switching feature as I already have a GSM. CDMA would have been a bonus but as someone said, Qualcomm is releasing one soon with CDMA and satellite.
The difference between Globalstar and Iridium is that G use LEO satellites that move across the sky like GPS sats. Irid uses geostationary sats at a very much higher altitude, hence the delay when talking.
The R290s being sold by this chap from the UK are from the spare handset pool, released to the market because the model has been superceded. So it doesnt come with the original Ericsson power supply etc. It does come with a spare battery. The manual is available online. The 240 v and in-car chargers work fine.
AnswerID: 50045

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 18:03

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 18:03
Bob its Eric again what is the ericsson power supply.
have they sent you somthing to replace it.

FollowupID: 311905

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 19:33

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 19:33
I just checked Eric,
the 240V power supply does have an Ericsson badge, but the 12V one is a generic but looks to be of reasonable quality
FollowupID: 311924

Reply By: ian - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 11:27

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 11:27
would you please mind walking me through the ebay site to find these phones as I haven't used it before can't get anywhere.
many thanks
AnswerID: 50059

Follow Up By: Member - MightyQ - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 18:01

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 18:01
G'day Ian, I've only just got your message so I'll go to ebay now and then let you know the 'walk-through'- a. go to
b.register, this may take you a few minutes
c. go to browse, then search- type in 'satellite phones', wait till this loads up --- you should find as of 5.54pm, 5 Ericsson R290 phones on auction and a Globalstar Sat 550
Put in a bid and wait. I didn't have to wait long- about 10 hours until my bid was accepted.
When you put in your bid it's pretty self explainitary.
Good luck
FollowupID: 311904

Reply By: Brad - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 09:27

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 09:27
MightyQ, just bought one of these from the man in England - lets hope we all do as well as expected :-))
I've been looking at satphones for a little while too, and had come to the conclusion that iridium is more likely to survive in the long term (wealthy customers ! eg USA Defence ) to justify a $2000 handset. As you point out iridium would probably work out a little cheaper too (leaving out handset costs).
Anyway at $500 we aren't risking too much.
Thanks again for the tip.
AnswerID: 50173

Reply By: Goran - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 00:29

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 00:29
I think you guys might find my experience with Vodafone usefull. I have Telit SAT 550for around 3 years now. Got it with goverment rebate (1100) total cost 900.00.
NEVER let me down in the scrub,not that i needed it in a hurry. Never experienced drop outs or similar. Vodafone Globalstar satelites are orbiting the earth on a lot lower altitude than other networks. Signal goes from your handset to sat, back to ground amplifier station (Meekethara in WA, Another 4 elsewhere) and to receiver you are calling. That is why there is no ECHO with these units.
To the best of my knowledge this is the only network that does not have echo. Crystal clear.
AnswerID: 52355

Follow Up By: Jimbo (WA) - Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:28

Monday, Mar 29, 2004 at 11:28
I'll back-up what Goran says. We used a Globalstar phone on the CSR and had good comms the whole way. NEVER had any drop outs, and talking on the thing is like using a normal mobile - ie. no echo etc.

P.S. No affiliation - just a happy camper!
FollowupID: 314156

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)