Next G/Sat phone/Internet - this is my solution

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:42
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Ok I have finally made a decision on how to get Next G, Satellite and limited internet connection.

Today I purchased a Telstra Turbo 7 series USB mobile broadband card. I purchased it outright at $499 (I will go into why I did that later)
I connected to a data plan which costs $29/month with a 80MB monthly data download allowance.
I also enabled the data card for international roaming.

Why did I choose these options?

1) No fixed contract - I can simply ring up and stop the plan whenever I want or conversely ring up to turn it back on. This means I can have the data card just 'sitting; there for 11 months of the year if I want and it costs me nothing. When I decide to get out and about I simply ring up and turn it back on ($29 for a month)

2) The USB express card was $499 to purchase outright. If I wanted to get it 'free' I could have signed up to the $59/month, 2 year, fixed contract and I would have got it for 'free'. If you do the maths over 2 years I would have paid for the card and some by the time the 2 years was up. Plus I would have had to pay $59 per month even if I wasn't using the card (which I wouldn't because I have a Next G prepaid phone for telephone calls already.

3) By enabling the data card to international roam means I can take the sim card out and put it into my sat phone.

My intention is to:

Use the Next G prepaid for telephone calls local and when heading out.
The data card for limited (internet banking, quick e-mails to the family
The data sim for sat phone for emergency use

That's what I have done :-)))
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Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:53

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:53
Are you sure the sim card for the modem is not for data use only.

Knowing Telstra they would have a catch somewhere.

Regards Richard
AnswerID: 300171

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:57

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:57
It can be used for data and voice - just that the cost for voice is expensive 0.25c to connect and 42.5c per 30 sec block or part.

That's why I am retaining my Next G prepaid sim card


And when it goes into the sat phone it will be at sat phone rates regardless what sim card you put in data or voice
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Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:54

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 20:54
Well done! Glad you got that sorted.

Too complicated for me. I'll stick with my prepaid mobile and occasionally used Satphone.... As for the internet....it can wait till I get home....LOL



Cheers
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 21:02

Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 at 21:02
Hey Willem

thanks for the support - I know I was getting a bit worked up about the Next G sim card/sat phone thing in a previous post - but I think I have it sorted - " time will out " as they say :-))))

My plan is only to use the internet connection for 'short bursts' to send previously prepared e-mails to my kids back in New Zealand and do my internet banking - I just dont trust Internet cafes for that sort of thing even though there are all sorts of software that allows you to save all you personal data safe from theft when you use the Internet cafes - but can't be bothered - just prefer to take my own puter.
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Reply By: Rut Tearer - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 13:31

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 13:31
Be careful the 80MB won't get you very far at all. You would want to disable various things on your PC otherwise you will blow the 80mb easy. Antivirus downloads etc and other small hidden downloads when you are connected to the net could cause you problems. If you are on top of all that, then no worries, have fun.
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:54

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:54
RT

Yes you are absolutely correct - I only use this Puter for my moving maps, e-mail and I banking. It has 1 spyware and 1 virus checker programme running. I have IE set to only d/l the basics (no pictures etc)

Hey and if it ends up I chew through the 80mb then I can just ring up and go up to the next option which is $59/month for 200mb

What I will do is prepare my e-mails using notepad or word and simply pop them through the ether as quick as I can and log off. It is not my intention to do any serious surfing - basically log into the net drop a line to the kids or transfer a couple of Mill $$$ from the savings to the fuel account :-))))))

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Reply By: Rut Tearer - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 13:36

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 13:36
Also $499 sounds very very expensive for the Turbo cards, they are going for $150 on Ebay legit. I have a Jasjam and a HTC Tytn 11 with a Next G sim card and it will also work as a USB modem for any computer, it's my phone as well off course, but the Internet Sharing feature is really handy for when I am away.
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:06

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:06
RT

Both the units you decsribe are PHONES - this is a USB card dongle thingy - only one that I could find on e- bay was located in orange:

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/TELSTRA-TURBO-7-SERIES-EXPRESS-CARD_W0QQitemZ330201093223QQihZ014QQcategoryZ70812QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1638Q2em118Q2el1247

at $430 plus freight.

Couldnt be bothered waiting the 2-3 days for it to arrive so went to local phone shop and got one off the shelf, then and there :-)
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Reply By: Cape York Connections - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:23

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:23
I made enquiries about this today.
how have you connected your phone to the lap top.
I cant find my cable some one said i could do it via a bluetooth thingy is this correct ?

All the best
Eric
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:01

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:01
Eric

No phone used it is as you so clearly desribe it " a bluetooth thingy " :-)))))


Site Link

The sim card slots inside this thingy and when you want to use your phone take it out and put into Next G phone or Sat phone.

Just remember the call costs using this data sim as a voice sim are higher than normal (thats why I have retained my Next G prepaid sim card) and of course any sim card in a sat phone is charged at the sat phone rates anyway..

Hope this is clear as mud :-))
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Reply By: Oldman - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:09

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:09
If you have internet access could you not use something like SKYPE to make phone calls.

I have loaded SKYPE on my PDA and can use it to make calls via Wireless technology -

Also I have seen a prod call Spot Messenger I think it was called which may provide good cheap alternatives to remote communication.

Of course if Telstra provided 100% coverage then we may have some other options as mentioned above.

Still confused

Oldman
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 21:55

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 21:55
Oldman

Yes you could - but why would you

I have used Skye for years and it is a great programme but subject to lag and distortion SOMETIMES.

However I would think that if you had internet access you would also have telephone access (both are using the same Telstra system) so you would be better off using the phone handset rather than Skype (purpose built telephone handset vs inbuilt puter microphone etc)

Havn't compaed the costs but I would think that the cost per minute to use the phone would be chaeaper than the cost per minute to use the data transfer of the puter.

Perhaps someone with a more alert brain than mine could comment

All I know is that because I have the Next G prepaid handset I would use it if I could rather than go to the trouble (to me) of setting up the puter just to talk to someone.

I am of course talking local calls here not international when Skype would win hands down
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 22:03

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 22:03
Oldman

As for Spot Messenger it is my understanding it is an alternative (sort of) to an EPIRB it isnt an alternative to a telephone

Spot Messenger website
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Follow Up By: Oldman - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 22:49

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 22:49
Kiwi,
Yes you are right about not being a phone.

But it has (on paper :)) the capabilities of providing more than a EPIRB.

The ability to let people know where you are and to alert people to emergencies.

I have no experiences with EPIRB but would reckon you could not use one if you broke down (unless life threatening). I got the impression from the Website that they did provide that service.

Where I see the similarities with SATPHONES etc is that you normally carry them for this type of problem and to let people know where you are. SPOT seems to do that - I think.

Which is the best I have no idea - however I would like to hear of a lot more peoples experiences with SPOT - in OZ before I would rely on it though.

It is all interesting - and confusing

Oldman
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:44

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:44
Oldman

My previous replies were in the context of my original thread i.e NextG/Sat Phone/Internet rather than any EPIRB vs Alternative but as w ehave drifted onto the subject we may as well carry on with it eh? :-)))) - like any good campfire conversation it often flits from topic to topic :-))

Certainly the Spot Messenger gives you different contact options to an EPIRB. The EPIRB has one function and that is to send a distress signal to either satellites and/or planes which then gets relayed to Canberra and the Emergency services swing into action. If you have the newest version EPIRB with GPS option then you are also transmitting your GPS co-ordinates.

Whereas the Spot Messnger does allow you to send tetx messages and data to other 3rd party receivers such as friends and family (EPIRB's don't have this feature) - it is all explained on the website.

Note the SpotMessnegr has a'service fee' that you pay each year for the service (US$99 per annum for basic and for annother US$50 per annum you can also subscribe to a tracking feature which allows you to send/save your location and/or send your location to friends and family

I have 2 EPIRB's already and because I love gadgets/toys will probably also buy the Spot Messnger - I belive that the success of a man is measured not by his accomplishments but by the number of toys he has :-)))))))))

I have seen someone either on this foram (or one of the 'other' one's we all frequent has purchased one already - perhaps he will let us know how it is going :-)
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Follow Up By: Oldman - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 00:17

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 00:17
Kiwi,
Very sorry to drift off in a different direction - getting old :)
This would be a good discussion as you said around the camp fire - probably get even better after a few drinks.


I am very interested in any device (and I do love gadgets as well - just can't afford to many ).

The Web site for Spot does seem impressive but I must admit I would like to see some real study of their use in OZ - (how well do they respond when there is a problem), I don't trust American advertising (just me).

Whether they are a real alternative to EPIRBS - I am not sure as I do not know the full extent of EPIRBS full use other than for real life threatening situations (I will need to look further into this). However they are reliable from what I have read.

As said I am interested in anything that will help (my only access is a UHF radio) so am keen to build up my kit further.

My traveling to date has not warranted anything more extreme but as a qualified but yet non practicing grey nomad I hope to change that ASAP. However, perhaps I am really kidding my self as we have gone to places where if we broke down or had trouble it would/could be not life threatening but would be at least very difficult and probably would go more if I had the confidence that if I did get problems I could at least contact some one. The best way to do this is perhaps what we are writing about now.

Once again very sorry for leading off the path of an interesting thread -perhaps I should start another one as I would like to see comments on the original more than my ravings.

All the best,
Oldy
(but not a goody)



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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 00:34

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 00:34
Oldman

no problems mate :-))

Actually I reckon it would be worth you starting a new thread - I am certainly interested in any discussion on the Spot Messenger system

It may get the attention of at least one person that I k ow has one and they may comment further

I have sent an e-mail off to the Spot Messenger site to get clarification of how the unit would work here - askd stuff like who is notified when the 'help me ' button is pushed etc etc :-)

Why dont you go ahead and start a new thread
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 07:35

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 07:35
Oldman

I just remebered another option that I have - sorry to add even more confusion to the thread :-))

I belong to BushTel and can also make telephone calls via my Icom HF radio :-)))

So I guess in summary I 'should' be able to get in contact with 'someone' pretty much 'anywhere' by 'some means' were ever I am on this great land :-))))

Ans on that note I reckon we can consider this thread has reached it's final resting place :-))))
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Reply By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:13

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:13
Interesting discussion and something I have ben trying to get my head around before we start heading off.Problem is that I use my laptop a lot for communication and for example I imagine sending the odd pic back to the family from our touring and that will eat up a lot.I know I can compress down to 15-20kb for emailing but would eat through 80mb rather quickly...!!! Only other optionis going up to the 2gb plan and that is $120?? or thereabouts per month and of course the USB data card is included. What gets me is Telstra cost compared to say Optus. You get 5gb for about $50/month including USB data card but what is the coverage out there for Optus..?? Telstra scoff and say that is why they can charge what they do.
I will be getting Next G mobile but class is still out on Sat phone vs HF. I don't fancy a huge antenna on the 200 I know so maybe satphone is the way....cost..??
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:57

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:57
I hope the thread has helped in some way for you to 'get your head around' the options.

The options I have chosed will hopefully work for me - as I have only just set this up it has yet to be put to 'the test'.

In my case 'The test' will be my CSR trip for 1month starting 12th July (cannot wait - are we there yet? - are we there yet? - huh - are we?? :-))

Not sure why you say "only other option is to go up to the 2Gb plan and that is $120??" - on the information sheet I have it shows the following plans above the one I am on:

$59/mnth,200mb, med to high useage, subsidised device ($149 upfront)

$89/mnth, 1000mb, High useage, subsidised device ($149 upfront)

$119/mnth,3000mb, Heavy useage, subsidised device ($149 upfront)

However these plans ALL require you to sign up for a 24 month term and you get charged the monthly fee wether you are using the service or not.

This is why I took the option of purchasing the USB device outright. I have no on going plan to contend with, no on going monthly fees if I arent using the service PLUS if I leave the country or stop travelling because I have no commitment to any plan I can simply put the USB device up for sale on e-bay :-))

the main reason I went with the Data Packs is that you can turn them on whenever you want.

In my case I really only need the connectivity through the datapack when I do my annual 'big trip' places like Simpson Desert, CSR, - the shorter weekend or 3-4 day trip I am either still in GSM range or I dont need internet connectivity (after all we used to go away for weeks before internet and seemed to survuie not been constantly 'in touch' - ahhh those were the days )

With the data pack you simply ring up and stop the service or ring up and start the service - there are no costs while the service is off - no monthly charges nothing
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Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 09:25

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 09:25
As for the prices, I was only talking from memory...I have had so many figures running around in my head I couldn't recall. Anyway, it has given me a few ideas and I think you are right with the outright purchase of the data card and if it is as simple as calling up and cancelling/starting up as well as upgrading data allowance....then I think I will go that way as well.
As for me...Oh I am a Kiwi also...been here 41 years now and I still like to catch up with the footy at home...thats why I am on the web a lot...Rugby, Exploreoz, LCOOL...plus all the banking and bills...would be utterly lost without the bloody computer.
I am retired, just returned from 18months in Blighty and have ordered a LC200 and a 24' van...won't be here until June/July and then later in the year we will start our adventures...going South first before being home for Chrissy then will head north for a bigger adventure
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Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 09:26

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 09:26
As for the prices, I was only talking from memory...I have had so many figures running around in my head I couldn't recall. Anyway, it has given me a few ideas and I think you are right with the outright purchase of the data card and if it is as simple as calling up and cancelling/starting up as well as upgrading data allowance....then I think I will go that way as well.
As for me...Oh I am a Kiwi also...been here 41 years now and I still like to catch up with the footy at home...thats why I am on the web a lot...Rugby, Exploreoz, LCOOL...plus all the banking and bills...would be utterly lost without the bloody computer.
I am retired, just returned from 18months in Blighty and have ordered a LC200 and a 24' van...won't be here until June/July and then later in the year we will start our adventures...going South first before being home for Chrissy then will head north for a bigger adventure
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Reply By: Muddy doe (SA) - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 20:14

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 20:14
Hi Kiwi,

I too have a Telstra data card that was purchased outright.

Am interested in your statement that it can be connected and disconnected at will with just a phone call.

How long does it take to get it connected when you ring up? Hours or Days?

Also is there any additional fee for the disconnect/reconnect?

I would also think that the minimum reconnection time would be a complete month. Telstra generally only let you make one plan change per billing cycle.

Cheers
Muddy
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 23:12

Saturday, Apr 26, 2008 at 23:12
Muddy Doe

I can't answer all your questions from actual experience as I have only just (last week) set everything up as I have stated.

BUT

I am told by the person who gave me all the advice (NOT a Telstra rep) that to turn on turn off just takes one phone call - when I asked the same questions as you just have I was told the on/off is immediate (but effective at the end of the month billing cycle) and there are no 'additional fees"

You are right when you say " I would also think that the minimum reconnection time would be a complete month. Telstra generally only let you make one plan change per billing cycle." - that was what the sales person said to em also.

I guess I will be able to answer the questions more fully when I ring up in 1 months time to turn it off and then again in July when I turn it back on :-))

As the saying goes 'the proof is in the eating" :-)))))



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