Satellite phone performance

Hi,
I tried a forum search but couldn't see anything particularly useful on handheld sat phone performaces.

In preparation of an outback WA trip later this year, I am looking for general comments on the performance of hand held satellite phones - such as Iridium vs Thuraya as service providers, coverage, reliability of connection, dropouts, voice quality, particular features or bugbears etc.. I'm not keen to (re)start any name and shame wars - but just looking for general performance assessments.

Any comments welcome.

Thanks
TerryG
Macclesfield SA
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Reply By: George_M - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 16:41

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 16:41
I've used the Iridium service for about seven or eight years. I started out with a Motorola 9500, and now use a Motorola 9505A.

I've only ever used the service for the occasional social call, and have never experienced any difficulty with connecting to the satellite, call quality or with call drop-outs.

The only "bugbear" I have is with Telstra's call charges - I'm not particularly price-sensitive, but I don't like being "gouged"

George_M
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Follow Up By: Member - evren1 (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 18:27

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 18:27
I don't know about gouged, more like drawn and quartered.

but am in total agreement, irridium network is only way to go if going remote in WA.

Evan
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 20:13

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 20:13
Read these threads from a similar query posted last night.

Will give you all the answers and prices etc

79937, 79167, 79096, 78987, 78932, 78073, 78088, 77648, 77090, 76466
AnswerID: 423943

Reply By: pdm3006 - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:11

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:11
If you are travelling after end September - early October, then GlobalStar (people please no flaming) is going to be an option.
We all know about the current GlobalStar constellation issues, but there is a launch of an extra 6 satellites in the above timeframe with another 18 satellites to be launched after that which will make GlobalStar at least on par with Iridium performance.
Cheers,
Peter.
AnswerID: 423965

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 07:17

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 07:17
Both Iridium and Globalstar are owned by Pivotel.
You can get either service from them.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 15:48

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010 at 15:48
Neither Iridium LLC nor Globalstar Inc are owned by Pivotel. Never have been. Both are international US based organisations.

Pivotel is a reseller of both, just like your local milk bar is a reseller of Coke and Pepsi.

I think Pivotel owns(ed) Globalstar Australia, nothing to do with the international satellite company and like many resellers probably for parking the company name while they have the exclusive rights here. Just another marketing ploy.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:32

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 22:32
Hi Terry

We too chose the Iridium network. I was having trouble with the signal and clarity the first time i really needed it (after a breakdown in a remote area), and by chance friends arrived at the same location and she told me to abandon the portable antenna and always use the car roof magnetic antenna - she has hers on with the wire coming in through the door frame and uses the phone successfully while they are driving. Taking her advice i found with the car antenna reception was clear and no drop outs. As our phone was for emergencies (used for the breakdown and for letting family at home know when we were out of Next G range for longer than they expected). On these few occasions, there was no trouble finding satellites.

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Follow Up By: Teraa - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 20:54

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 20:54
I have only used the Iridium and it;s fine but I use the outside aerial it works heaps better. All the other brands don't seem to work so good heard rumors is all.
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Follow Up By: Teraa - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 20:54

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 20:54
I have only used the Iridium and it;s fine but I use the outside aerial it works heaps better. All the other brands don't seem to work so good heard rumors is all.
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Reply By: UltraJeep - Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 15:19

Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 15:19
Definitely Iridium for me. Have witnessed 1st hand a fellow adventure rider (yes, a motorcyclist!) have his Thuraya satphone fail to get reception whilst we were on the Gunbarrel... and he is not a novice with his (work) satphone. Fired up my Iridium & got reception no worries.

If Globalstar throw up some extra satellites things should be different though.

I chose to buy Fastwave's pre-paid 200 plan. Better value IMO because I get 12 months to use 200mins of calls. Plus they have a free web-based SMS messaging service to my Motorola 9505A.

AnswerID: 424126

Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:22

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:22
Was he pointing the Thuraya at the correct point in the sky ?

There is only one Thuraya satellite so the aerial is very directional, unlike Iridium omnidirectional aerials.
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Follow Up By: UltraJeep - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:34

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:34
Yep. Like I said, it is (or should I say was) his work satphone and he had used it many many times before. At the time he made comments about it being critical to get the aerial direction spot on and not to move about whilst on the phone.

We didn't have time to muck around, that's why I dragged my phone out straightaway.
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Reply By: Mike DiD - Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:25

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 20:25
The NSW Ambulance Service has just replaced all its Globalstar satphones with Motorola Satphones on Iridium.

Thuraya will give poor performance in South East Australia because the one satellite is only 20 degrees above the horizon there.

In WA Thuraya is very useable because you're closer to the satellite, but you will have to point the aerial at the correct point in the sky.
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