Satellite phones

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones' started by Porridge_gun, Oct 14, 2012.

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  1. Porridge_gun

    Porridge_gun LE Good Egg (charities)

    Chaps, I need a sat phone or two for a couple of months, possibly longer.

    Been looking at hire, but they seem ridiculously expensive, so decided to buy one, then if I need to keep it I can, if I flog it they seem to still fetch decent money.

    Can anyone steer me in the right direction for supply, advice on prepay tarrifs and best handset.

    Everyone so far seems to recommend Iridium, but am genuinely clueless.

    The networks also appear not to subsidise handsets on postpaid tarriffs like the GSM networks do..... Is this right?

    DOes anyone have a second hand handset they want to sell?

    ANy help gratefully received
  2. Loads on eBay...
  3. Hi PG.

    It really boils down to where you're going. Worldwide coverage is best provided by Iridium; Globalstar is best for the Americas; Thuraya is for Asia and Europe etc.

    Rates for Iridium are really very good - think $1 a minute. The other providers are somewhat variable.

    Also do you need a handset or will a BGAN solution work better?
  4. do reasonable hire rates. Also their website gives good run downs on the various options available, potential tarrifs and coverage.

    Otherwise - look at thuraya PAYG. cheaper than iridium if you are in coverage. The old hughes and acscom handsets cost a bomb because they are bomb proof - the newer 2510 series are a little pump, but conversely are cheaper/more frequent on flea bay. newer XT models will resell well
    Get a SIM through official supplier and register it - don't want a hellfire up your jacksie if you're going to interesting places (at least so the urban legend goes!)

  5. Bear in mind iridium isn't a safety certified system as there aren't sufficient redundancies in the infrastructure. If you're doing something where you need to get a message through take a look at a INMARSAT phone. Most systems allow texts to be sent now which might be worth bearing in mind.
  6. Porridge_gun

    Porridge_gun LE Good Egg (charities)

    Cheers chaps.

    Ive been looking on ebay, and whilst conversant with GSM technology and unlocks etc, do the networks on satphones lock the handsets to their specific brand or are they unlockable / work with any provider?
  7. You buy a phone for a network - although I'll be the first to admit my knowledge on these matters is about 18 months out of date and the commercial market may have moved on since I was given one.

    Technology certainly exists to roam between bearers but its very expensive and I am not aware of it being widely available in handset form.
  8. Generally the satphones are locked to a provider (eg Iridium 9555 handset, clue is normally in the name) for a range of reasons (financial mostly and some technical).

    Depending where you're going you should check the providers coverage and you might get lucky and they'll have a spot beam (additional coverage) to the area you're going.

    Don't forget environmental factors on the handset and coverage (significantly reduced battery life in colder/hot climates, poor coverage when you have limited view of sky, rain fade between the sat and nearest ground station, humidity damage to handset, etc).
  9. Oh and unless you're going truly off grid like Lord Lucan, a dual GSM and sat phone might be the way to go to keep costs down. Just chuck in a local sim until you're out of range of the terrestrial network.