<span class="highlight">Globalstar</span> Update

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 13:10
ThreadID: 51334 Views:3510 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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I received an email from an industry friend the other day that I've decided to share with you all here.

"In response to numerous and loud complaints about the lack of reliable service from the Globalstar satellite phone system, on which we have relied so heavily to tell those who we left behind what a good time we are having in the outback, the message has got through.

This morning I attended a presentation by Peter Bolger of Pivotel (until recently Globalstar Australia) hosted by the WA Department of Treasury and Finance. DTF have been fielding many of the complaints from the Government sector and no doubt might have been feeling a bit nervous about public sector employees wandering off into the wilderness with a communication system that has knowingly been deteriorating since 2005.

Peter explained that whilst his company, Globalstar (Aust), has invested heavily in the Australian ground sector of the system it is the Globalstar (USA) satellites that are the problem. Apart from sharing a common name (but no longer) the two companies are not linked – ie neither has control over the other. He assured us that his ground sector is in good order and constantly being upgraded but the problem is with the power supplies of the satellites that are now up to 10 years old. The lack of power means that the satellite does not effectively connect to the phone (hence the lack of lock), but the other links (phone to satellite, satellite to network gateway and reverse) are largely unaffected.

Eight new satellites have been launched this year (most recently last Sunday) and most are in service so there should be an improvement in service. However, this is only represents about 20% of the constellation, the rest will continue to degrade until the new constellation is fully deployed (2009-2011).

To mitigate the continuing problem Pivotel will be announcing, around the end of the year, a subsidised replacement of Globalstar handsets to all current customers who would prefer to move over to the Telstra Iridium system. Pivotel’s new identity has allowed them to expand their business direction giving them access to other networks, including Iridium.

In the interim the Globalstar system will continue to operate however, for dual system handsets, access to the CDMA network will cease on Jan 28, 2008."

As I said, I didn't attend this meeting, but this email was shared with me from someone who was there and I knew it would be rather interesting for those following what's going on with Globalstar's service.
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Reply By: Rosco - Qld - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 13:38

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 13:38

Too little, too late for me I'm afraid. After abysmal service on our recent business trip to the Cape and Gulf I disconnected my phone and explained to their staff person I was of the opinion they had been taking my money under false pretenses. I told them I was paying for a service they were not providing. I didn't mind paying their monthly connection fee whilst the phone was stored in the cupboard, unused. But it was a tad too much to find that when I actually wished to use their service, it was virtually non-existent.

AnswerID: 270339

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 14:04

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 14:04

I found myself in a similar situation to you. I pay $10 a month to vodafone for the use of Globalstar, and didn't mind doing this, however when I went to use it on a recent trip I found it as useful as you know what. So for all these months I've been paying for something that doesn't work..
AnswerID: 270346

Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 20:18

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 20:18
Your lucky my Globalstar plan costs me $30 per mth. Will be intrested to se what sort of discount will be offered to jump ship to the Telstra setup?
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Follow Up By: stocky - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 21:03

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 21:03
GSTAR will be reselling IRIDIUM - same as Telstra reselling iridium
Its not GSTAR selling Telstra sat phones....you bet if ur a GSTAR sat customer and you call a Telstra sat customer or vice versa the call rates will be horrible like they are now!

Pivotel is just the "parent" company under which GSTAR & THINK operate (Think is a cellular reseller)

I have both phones - still prefer my GSTAR QSP1600 - even if I have to wait a few minutes to make a call

FollowupID: 533418

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 18:53

Tuesday, Nov 06, 2007 at 18:53
As for globalstar coverage you get same from a house brick absolutely useless.

All the best
AnswerID: 270391

Reply By: PeterInSA - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 12:42

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 12:42
5 years ago as a potential casual user of sat phones and with only Globalstar having a casual plan I went with Globalstar and bought an Ericsson Sat/digital phone. Still only a casual user firing up the phone for one or more months a year. I admit its not the best of service, but would like to keep it going.

Would like to know
Is Globalstar going to continue in Oz?

Is the casual plan still going to continue on?

Does Iridium have a casual Plan?

Can 'my hour' Telstra customers make free calls to Irdium Sat phones like you can do with GStar?

As a casual Globalstar customer will I be able to trade my Ericsson phone in on an Irdium handset on a casual plan?

Time will tell...


AnswerID: 270536

Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 13:16

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 13:16
Hi Peter

Are you direct with Globalstar or via Vodafone? I'm via Vodafone and the information flow has been non-existant from them..The reason I ask is given the time and the fact you have the Ericcson

Good question though, as I would like to still maintain a satphone service despite having HF.
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Follow Up By: PeterInSA - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 14:22

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 14:22
I am with Globalstar direct, originally when I bought the phone was with vodaphone but a year later they dropped the support in Adelaide, went into a Sat Systems company and they signed me up with Gstar, any problems I phone Gstar direct and of course pay direct to Gstar.

Never use the digital card that is provided I think its still Vodaphone but cannot recall, on the card it says if found phone 1300 2 Think.

I bought my phone Aud $400 on ebay from the UK one of a number of units sold at the same time, had the impression that the previous owner could have been a news reporter from one of the worlds trouble spots.

I looked at HF and Sat Phones and wanted to get one or the other, with a background in electronics thought that HF was a sunset technology and Sat phones a developing one (also 2 friend's were thinking of selling their HF units) really don't want to pay $2k for an Irdium.

FollowupID: 533549

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 15:02

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 15:02
Peter maybe you should direct those questions to Globa$hit who are continuing to take your money.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 14:58

Wednesday, Nov 07, 2007 at 14:58
Which seems to confirm the rumor that those new Sat's were positioned in the northern hemisphere where the major money is and the balance of the system will continue to degrade as the current Sat's get older.

Australia will reap no benefit from the new Sat's hence why they are going to try and move all current users to Iridium.

If I was a Golbal$hit customer I would be real pi$$ed that they continue to take my money with the knowledge that the system does not live up to expected service levels.
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