Sat phone plans...help please

Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2018 at 20:32
ThreadID: 136763 Views:1516 Replies:8 FollowUps:31
Gidday all, I have an Iridium Sat phone, have had it for 4 or 5 years, I have watched the monthly cost slowly increase from $30 / month to $50/ month as of June 1st. It is really only for emergencies and as such, luckily gets very little use.
I really don’t want to cough up$600/ year for the privilege of having it sit in the vehicle.
Can anyone point me in the direction of a casual or pre paid plan which will make this more affordable? Have an in car kit installed so really don’t want to swap phones if it can be avoided. Thankyou in advance any advices welcome
Cheers Steve.
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Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Friday, May 25, 2018 at 21:07

Friday, May 25, 2018 at 21:07
G,day Steve O.
I have a pivotal account that costs me $15 a month.
For that amount of money I am happy having it sit around and use it when I need it.
The number is an Australian mobile no. so any body ringing you only pays for Australian mobile rates.
I don't know if it's good for you ,but have a look.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, May 25, 2018 at 21:27

Friday, May 25, 2018 at 21:27
Cheapest I’ve seen for an Iridium at Pivotel is $40 per mth, it also says rates will increase by $10 in June 2018.
They have a $15 plan for Thuraya.

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Follow Up By: Member - Steve O (QLD) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:07

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:07
Thankyou William B, Iwill follow that up with Pivotel
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve O (QLD) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:13

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:13
Thanks Shaker, this is the plan I am currently on and don’t wish to keep paying
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, May 25, 2018 at 22:34

Friday, May 25, 2018 at 22:34
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Hi Steve,

Do you have a Telstra post-paid mobile account?
If so, you can put that SIM card into the Iridium and it will simply work. Roaming must be activated.

Mind you, call costs are high but if it is only for emergencies, does that matter much?
When home again, put the SIM back into your mobile phone.

Oh, when the SIM is in the satphone, you would not want people calling you on the mobile number as you will be billed, so just leave it turned off until needed.



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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 01:52

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 01:52
Hi...that is what I do ..but a few traps you should be aware of. If you have a telstra post paid sim (International roaming activated..not just roaming) then you are on your way.

But be aware that even with the phone turned off you will get slugged if a message (text or message bank) is sent/left. Solution is to leave sim in normal phone until needed and/or swap back just after billing period.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Steve O (QLD) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:10

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:10
Thankyou Allan, sounds like this may be an option
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 10:02

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 10:02
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Thanks Greg,

I had not realised that there was now a differentiation between "roaming" and "international roaming". I have now educated myself on this.

I also didn't know that you get slugged for 'unanswered calls'. The communications subject really is a minefield!

The proposal of only transferring the SIM when it is needed somewhat diminishes the convenience of the satphone in a dire emergency. When seeking economy, there is always a trade-off. Which is why I use the full Telstra Satphone plan.



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Allan

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:17

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:17
Sorry - I just thought (didnt research) that roaming was something a mobile phone does by default (unless in flight mode) and that international roaming was different..but maybe I am wrong. Anyway - no big deal - message conveyed.

Also wasnt suggesting you wait for an emergency to swap SIM cards - do it when leaving phone zone into never never and put it back on return. I have a dedicated sat phone sim (el cheapo testra $10 plan) plus a "normal" phone so its probably a bit easier for me (i.e. can swap sim at home as apposed to the other side of Kalgoorlie when phone signal actaully starts to cut out). Either way hardly a signifcant trade off for many, given having a proper sat phone plan is a lot of wasted money if you only travel a few times a year.

In any case, individual users need to establish best plan of attack for their circumstances. Using a normal telstra SIM is certainly not the best option for everyone, but for some it is, and works well.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:29

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:29
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Greg,
My head spins when it comes to the subtleties of phone plans.
I am reminded of a bloke in a Rome plaza with three matchbox trays and one pea! ...... I was smart enough to just watch. lol

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:42

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:42
Just the range of normal phone plans not to mention the range of different phones has me totally baffled.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 07:51

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 07:51
Roaming is the same thing as International roaming. There is no such thing as national roaming in Australia ( though Vodafone wants it so a vodafone user can use Telstra's country network). Telstra won't allow you to roam to another network in Australia and visa versa. There is one exception to this, which is not strictly roaming, if you dial 112 or 000 and have no coverage from your provider, and there is another one available then your phone can make calls from any network.

When using a normal Telstra SIM in an Iridium satphone, you roam to a country called "Iridium" which has country code 8816 or 8817. Since Telstra have a roaming agreement with Iridium, you can roam to that 'country'. Albeit at a high cost, just like you could roam to say Zimbabwe at high cost.

Telstra doesn't have roaming agreements with the other Sat phone providers, and Optus and Vodafone don't have roaming agreements with Iridium.


To stop the phone roaming, with high phone bills, you have to let it connect to telstra, that happens automatically when you return from ( say) Zimbabwe when you get home. On a Sat phone you physically have to move the SIM to a local phone to tell Telstra's network not to roam.

The alternative is to turn off international roaming online on your Telstra personal account page. That is what I do.


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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:50

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 08:50
I used my Iridium phone last week for a call half way across the Simpson using my Telstra sim out of my phone .
I am on a basic monthly contract .
A 5 min call is not cheap but I only use it on average once a year on out back trips .
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Reply By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:41

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:41
I've never needed to use my sat phone, but have a Telstra post paid Sim for emergencies.

I've just found that Trtelecom have an iridium plan called "seasonal traveller" which is $40 a month but only requires a 4 month contract.

https://www.trtelecom.com.au/satellite-phone-call-plans/Iridium-call-plans/seasonal-traveller

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 12:33

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 12:33
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Hi Graeme,

That is interesting. I will consider it.
The 4 month contract fits with seasonal travelling.
The non-retention of service number is no problem to me as there are only a few who need to be advised of the new number.

EDIT: I must say that TR Telecom's clear and forthright presentation of their plans puts Telstra (and others) to shame.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 15:55

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 15:55
Are you so ire it will work with one of their SIM cards?
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Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 16:22

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 16:22
I'm not sure what you mean Shaker. If you're referring to me mentioning using my Telstra Sim, I wouldn't be using that if I was on the trtelecom seasonal traveller plan. I'd be using their iridium sim in my iridium phone.

I can't see why that wouldn't work, or have I misunderstood you?

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:11

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:11
Sorry, preemptive text issue, should have read “are you sure ...... “

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Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:22

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:22
I worked out "are you sure". I've clarified my post above. Why don't you explain why you think their sim wouldn't work, because I still don't understand what you're getting at.

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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:37

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 17:37
I can assure you that the TR Telecom sim works 100%

Used to use them years ago.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 18:16

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 18:16
I thought only Telstra SIM cards worked.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 20:17

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 20:17
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Shaker, my guess is that TR-Telecom are buying wholesale from Telstra and therefore 'their' technology is in fact Telstra technology.
Just as some other carriers use the Telstra mobile network.

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 21:58

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 21:58
I only commented because I had read recently that a post paid Boost Mobile SIM wouldn’t work in an Iridium phone.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 22:17

Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 22:17
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Yes, that was a "Boost" mobile SIM. Not a Satellite SIM.

This is TR-Telecom offering a range of Iridium Satphone plans. I doubt that they would still be around if they did not work.

Have you actually looked at the link provided above by Graeme or just muddying the water?
TR-Telecom claim....... "Our partners include a tier-1 service provider for Iridium Satellite Telecommunications".

Try them Shaker and let us know how you get on. lol
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10:44

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 10:44
TRtelecom's Iridium Seasonal Traveller plan suits me too. I was on the phone to them just now and have been advised that due to increased charges by Iridium, the monthly rate has gone up as of today from $40 to $48, and the minimum term from 4 months to 6 months.

A standard Iridium SIM gives you free inbound calls, but the caller pays whatever international rates their telco charges.

As an alternative you can opt for a mobile number (described as an 04 SIM). Still free inbound, but the caller pays at mobile rates. I was told that the trade-off is that there may be a delay in call connection as the call is routed through the mobile system to Iridium. I was also told that if you dial 112 or 000 there is no connection delay.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, May 28, 2018 at 22:39

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 22:39
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An increase from $40 to $48 is a 20% rise.

That's a bit savage.

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, May 28, 2018 at 23:19

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 23:19
Also a 50% increase in minimum term. It makes it almost line ball with a Telstra $20.00 post paid.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, May 28, 2018 at 23:51

Monday, May 28, 2018 at 23:51
Yes, it's a big price hike which takes the gloss off, but the call rate is attractive.

Are the Telstra $20 postpaid call rates $2.00 per 30 sec or thereabouts for incoming as well as outgoing calls?

If so, that pretty much precludes chatting at length with the at-home family, which my better half likes to do.

I elected the local number option (mobile number beginning 04). $288 for 6 months with TR telecom gives us unlimited inbound calls for $0 and the caller pays at their telco's mobile rates. They can call us and chat for as long as they like - we'll probably get our money's worth.

It's less than a full load of fuel. Few of us would query that.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 21:17

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 21:17
A little bit more on TR Telecom.

They have a 24/7 Customer Service number, and it is indeed 24/7. However outside business hours it appears it is only an answering service. They ask questions about your issue and take your number for a callback. I called at about 6:00 pm and got an email sent at 6:23 that appeared to respond to my question but didn't address my issue. Called again at about 8:00. No callbacks - it is now 9:15.

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Reply By: Member - Steve O (QLD) - Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 09:54

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 09:54
My sincere thanks to all who have replied to this thread, it has been extremely helpful, I am going to go down the sim track and check out TR Telecom, this sounds like exactly what I need, if it’s as good as they claim. It will save me over $400.00 just in availability of service, again my thanks to all of you, Cheers Steve.
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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 09:12

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 09:12
Steve,

Have a look at Pivotel as well, they have a $40 month though I believe that is to increase to $50 month plan and you can choose to only be connected for 1 month minimum. You have to pay a $50 connection fee and then looks like it is going to be $50 month for as many months as you like, no set contract period, 1 month minimum.

The big plus with Pivotel is that incoming calls are charged to the caller at their standard mobile rate, you can simply message them to call you and it costs you nothing in call costs and costs them as good as nothing also.

Each time you terminate your plan and start again you get a new number which suits us as we only give our number to a few friends and family anyway.

Works for us.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 10:35

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 10:35
There's not much to choose between the two.

Pivotel's $40 going-to-$50 plan and TRtelecom's Seasonal Traveller plan are almost identical, with TR being $2 a month cheaper and calls 4c per 30 seconds less.

Charging regimes are the same - free inbound, caller pays their telco's mobile rates.

Pivotel has a small call allowance ($5.00), TR does not.

The mobile number for both is done through Vodafone.

Toss a coin, take your pick :-)

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:07

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:07
Frank, the one significant difference (for some users) would be the minimum term.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:29

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 11:29
They're the same, Zippo. Pay $50 up front and there's no minimum term.

Otherwise as far as I can tell it's 6 months for TR, 24 months for Pivotel, which as you say, may be significant.
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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:08

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:08
It is significant if you are not going to use the service for 6 months.

1 month on Pivotel = $100 with $10 calls included.

1 month on TR = $288 with no calls included.

Sure, once you get to the 6 month stage there is only $12 difference TR's way until you deduct $30 worth of calls with Pivotel.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 13:04

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 13:04
TTTSA

From the TR website:

"This postpaid plan is on a minimum 6 month contract, or a month to month option which incurs a $50.00 fee."

So one month on TR would be $50 plus $48, = $98 with no calls included
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Reply By: David I1 - Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 10:00

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 10:00
There are a number of considerations you need to take on board when purchasing a sat phone and which provider. I have a Thuraya which I also use when overseas on holidays. But it does not work in America due to satelite position. Also it does not work very well (at all) at any position south of Benalla Victoria. I can live with that at the moment. When I dont plan to use it for any length of time (ie 4-6 months) I cancel the phone number and restart again when i need the phone. OK its only $15 a month, but I am canny with my money. The only issue with this is you have to pay a reconnection fee($50 from memory) and you then get a new phone number. I dont mind as I just SMS all that would want to contact me when i am away.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 21:34

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 21:34
Just something else to consider is that called to 000 or 112 from a satphone are free and you do not require credit for it to work.
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Reply By: Member - Lloyd M - Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 21:40

Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 21:40
My Iridium Sat phone is on a Telstra plan $35 / month which includes $10 of calls.I've had this plan for about 2 years. I hope this helps.It is not a pre paid account.

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