which sat phone is right for me??

hi all & sundry
we are heading off to the pilbara/kimberley areas & was thinking about taking a sat phone for emergencies. can any one with experience with these phones advise best phone/provider/plan to help us make an informed decision. we would only be ringing home to check on the olds/emergencies & can the kids text us?
any help
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 14:29

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 14:29
Hi Ianmac

Just be aware that if you choose one of the current models which are better value but use an international network you will not be able to call 000 nor most 13- or 1800- numbers such as nationwide (almost) police. The Iridium network is suitable for these numbers, but what ever you get, check that the number you need will work, and whether you need to use the international +61 code. RFDS has numbers suitable for satellite phones on other networks and I have made a small printable document of all their numbers. Nationwide Roadside Assist 13- for motoring organisation members has been set up to work on the international network by using the +61.

We had ours on the Iridium network, dialled normally (no extra numbers needed), and taking the highest call price lowest monthly cost which included $10 of calls without further charge - enough to call home and say "yes, we're alive" and give them an estimate of when we would be in normal range again. We didn't need it for any medical emergency, but it was necessary when we had a breakdown when remote.

I never worked out how to do texts. Texting waited until we were in mobile phone range - although then i preferred to use instant messaging and emails on computer to talk with the children at home (Next G mobile broadband). The longest we were out of range was a bit over three weeks when on the Gibb River Road.

I have written a few web pages on communications, including satellite phone networks, on my website which can be found in my profile.


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AnswerID: 479207

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Mar 03, 2012 at 09:16

Saturday, Mar 03, 2012 at 09:16
If you have the Pivotel Iridium service you get a standard mobile phone number (people calling you get charged for a standard mobile call) and local dialling access (just like a standard mobile phone.... dial 13, 1800, 1300, 000, 0291234567 or 0418123456).

Most of the cheaper call rates are from overseas providers and your phone is seen as a overseas phone hence the big call costs for people who dial you and no access to the 13, 1800, 1300, 000 calls plus every call you make you have to put the +61 infront.

Iridium is not good at sending text messages as the Iridium service was designed for email services only..... you can send text messages but this is enabled and converted at the providers level and not direct from the phone.
FollowupID: 754700

Reply By: marq - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 20:46

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 20:46
Depends if you want cheap or not.

Iridium system is more likely to have a connection but costs money.
Handsets are $1100 to $1600 outright
Fastwave has the prepaid international 200min 12 month for about $500
Maybe mgltelecom for a plan.

Inmarsat Isatphone Pro is cheap with 2 year prepaid for about $800 outright with a number of resellers but most of the time will get you out of trouble, if in a george or in trees etc you will need to walk out.

AnswerID: 479231

Reply By: Rockape - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 21:39

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 21:39
if you are on a plan with telstra you may choose to buy a second hand motorola 9505a sat phone, if you look around they go for about $500 to $600.

Enable the sim card for international roaming and put it in the satphone. Just remember you will pay a premium for any calls you make.

For emergencies this is a great way to go.

AnswerID: 479234

Follow Up By: marq - Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 22:14

Friday, Mar 02, 2012 at 22:14
Another option is trtelecom $35 plan for min 4 months
FollowupID: 754692

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