Inmarsat Isat Phone

I wondered If anyone has experience with the Inmarsat Isat phones and in particular how you have found the reception.

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 07:01

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 07:01
There are at least 2 recent threads in great detail on this exact subject. It would pay you to look them up. Especially the one about the inability to call emergency services.
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Follow Up By: Member- Tony C - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:18

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:18
Hello Boobook,
Yes I did a search and came up with two recent posts, 86432 which dealt with sms messages and 85958 that covered details of sim cards but I couldn't find information regarding coverage. Maybe I didn't enter enough detail in my search.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 07:16

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 07:16

There was a discussion re coverage, but in summary the nearest Sat is over PNG. That means you should get good coverage in the North. There is a big question about coverage in the South of Australia. Specifically in mountainous areas of SA, Vic and Tas. The Sat sits low on the Horizon and could be an issue in say the High Country. This is the main reason I am sticking with my Iridium. To my best knowledge you will have big issues in these areas.

Other reasons btw are that I can use a Tesltra SIM, this allows reasonable call costs for others back to the phone ( ie normal mobile costs, not $10 - $18 per minute, though I pick up $4.00 per min), and no need for others to call international to get me. The other issue of course is lack of 000.
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Reply By: GrumpyOldFart - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 07:57

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 07:57
yes there are other threads about the Inmarsat iSat phone. Well worth reading.

They would have to be the best sat phone to date. Top voice quality but there is still that slight delay. Pays to pause before answering.

As far as the doomsayers re no 000 or 112 availability? You be the judge. I have had a situation where 000 was unable to find a country town 70km from Adelaide without a lot of help and time. How do you think they would go with Papulankutja or Blackstone? or I'm 60km up the Jamieson cut road or I'm on the old Blackstone to Warukurna Road.

I prefer local knowledge. It is not hard in your trip planning to get a list of phone numbers of nearby locales. I think Hemma maps list most of the Communities with contact phone numbers for CDA's and Stores, would pay to call some where you are travelling. There is also the various RFDS phone numbers, and they would have far better expertise to assist you in an emergency situation.

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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 09:01

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 09:01
Yes Dru, I tend to agree with you. From media news reports from time-to-time I don't think the 000/112 emergency phone service is all that it is cracked-up to be, at least not outback. I carry a list of outback phone numbers and would use that as first call.

For starters, this ExplorOz site has a list in the Members Fileswap pages, under 'Radio & Communications' -- 'Outback Phone Numbers - Australiawide'.


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Follow Up By: Member- Tony C - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:25

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:25
Thanks Dru,
Yes I agree, I always carry a list of emergency contacts relevant to the area I am travelling and would call those numbers first in an emergency.

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Reply By: herc72 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 09:26

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 09:26
Bought one from the states 4 weeks ago. for under $600. Also bought pre paid vouchers from states. Once voucher activated it is valid for 2 years or until used up. Paid approx 80 cents per min for calls to landlines and dollar/min to mobiles. The way they work it you buy units and they charge 1 unit per min for calls to landlines, 1.2 units per minute to mobiles and half a unit per message. Since aussie dollar is strong agains the us it actually works in our favour. Used the phone in the bush, has latest firmware on it (previous firmware complaints were that it took a long time to lock onto thre satellite). Phone locks on in a minute or so (or quicker if you already have a gps lock as it needs it to lock onto satellite). Called my mate on it a few times, found up to 3 sec delay in voice transmission but very clear. Found that it was best to say what you wanted to say together and then say "over" almost as if on a radio so we did not talk over the top of each other. Best feature is free short message service (up to 160 characters) through email as its free for both users. Sends GPS coordinates through email or message as well. Not worried about emergency numbers either as have all the ones I need programmed for areas I travel within. They are looking at enabling 000 calling in the future as it is getting messy legally now. Only adavantage of having that service will be that you will be able to call even if you have run out of credit. Another way out of it for time being is to have another voucher for pre paid credit organized, then if you used your first voucher all you do to activate another is enter voucher number into the phone and off you go again (20 years expiry on pre paid waiting voucher).Happy with the set up at the moment. Pays to know where north is as the satellite is over the equator and needs clear line of sight to the satellite. To date have not have any trouble locking on or dropped cals. By far the cheapest alternative for emergency/light use so far.Bought the plans from and the phone from Phone took 2 weeks to come in but the pre paid was quick as they have an agency in Australia. Sim card was issued first. Then once I got the phone I sent them the unique IME number from the phone and they had it up and running same day and assigned a phone number.
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Follow Up By: Member Al (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 10:35

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011 at 10:35
Doesn't sound too bad at all. May be a bit iffy in a gully down south but good for deserts up north.


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Follow Up By: Member- Tony C - Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:33

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011 at 06:33
Thanks Herc, for your detailed reply. I am making this enquiry on my brothers behalf who is contemplating purchasing one. I use an Iridium 9555 which I am happy with however there is a significant cost saving with the Inmarsat I phone. This therefore seemed to be a good option if the reception was comparable to the Iridium system.
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Follow Up By: rainbowprof - Monday, Aug 29, 2011 at 15:02

Monday, Aug 29, 2011 at 15:02
Although not an insurmountable problem, the 000 option now looks unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Do not expect it if you buy this phone.
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