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Thread: Satellite Phones & Service

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GadgetKen View Post
    Orbcomm email devices never really took off (pun intended). From what I remember dealers that carried those satellite email devices quietly shelved them due to reliability problems. Orbcomm instead shifted their focus to the M2M market for tracking mobile assets (trucks, ships, airplanes, etc.). New satellites according to wikipedia should provide more advance features.
    I always found Orbcomm and interesting concept and was sorry that their consumer applications didn't take off. (Many of their satellites were launched from a jet fighter.)
    Think Spot advantage over a two way pager is satellite coverage in areas where no pager or cellular network. Spot devices typically have a Help button that can send position and SOS info to recipient (even to search and rescue or roadside assistance). Connect adds connection to phone or laptop. Two device issue still exists if you have a cellphone and a satphone, but think more realistic than a combo sort of device.
    I fear that I was not clear in my previous post. I meant to say that the SPOT "hockey puck" device vs a device with its own keypad, similar to a two-way pager. The "hockey puck" relies on another device to act as its keypad. You need two battery-powered devices; if either battery goes dead you're hosed.
    Still prefer actual voice service via satellite (currently isatphone for myself) for flexibility and to communicate with some non-tech savvy people I speak with (who don't know how to use text messaging and have little or no computer knowledge)...a plain phone call sometimes is the easiest.
    Yes, I agree. And as the size of the satphone gets smaller, it becomes more practical. I have my old Iridium phone and a unactivated SIM that I can activate by sending a FAX. At one time the phone was part of my regular travel kit but that was when it cost $25/mo. When they went above that, I realized it was really an expensive toy. The last time I used it was 2010 when I went backpacking out of cellular coverage. I bought a used a prepaid SIM on eBay. It worked reasonably well for the time I needed it, provided I was in a clearing on top of a hill.
    Donald Newcomb

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    Thanks for the link, it had some interesting info, but when I put in **05* it says "cannot be unlocked", and it wont let me access the menus.

    conscript

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 503ducati View Post
    I wonder if other sat operators are considering a phone sleeve?
    That's a real interesting product. Reminds me of the sleeves for the older ipod touch.

  5. #20
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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned GlobalStar.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by techguru View Post
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned GlobalStar.
    It was mentioned indirectly with the posts about Spot. Spot uses GlobalStar service. GlobalStar unfortunately got a bad name for a while due to their first gen satellites that did not last as long as anticipated so I think the Spot name is more promising for marketing purposes. As they launched new satellites, coverage improved. Some of the tracking Spot devices are pretty decent. Think the Spot Connect device that tethers wirelessly to a smartphone with a $100 annual fee and type and send 41 character messages at a dime apiece in a $50 annual bundle is a good value. And Globalstar is also experimenting with using satellite frequencies for expanding terrestrial wi-fi bands...might be some profit in that for them if the FCC goes along with re-purposing some of Globalstar's spectrum.

    But Globalstar/Spot doesn't work for me because I need prepaid voice service that's truly global. Globalstar is regional and postpaid contract in the case of voice services.

    With InMarSat's isatphone, I can get prepaid service with long expiration dates and almost global service (except for polar regions I don't travel to anyway).

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by techguru View Post
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned GlobalStar.
    GlobalStar got the nickname "LocalStar" because of the way it's service is organized. GlobalStar runs the satellites and the US/Caribbean service (I think). Various regional operators pay to use the satellites in their regions and sell GlobalStar service under a franchise arrangement. This has created a patchwork of regional services, where a customer from one region may or may not be able to roam, at additional cost, in another region. There are gaping holes in service between the regions. Perhaps less than 50% of the surface of the earth has GlobalStar service. Couple this with the fact that the first generation satellites were built on the cheap so the RF front-ends burned out way before the due date and you have a prescription for a really troubled service. Iridium and INMARSAT have a much better track record on a global scale and Thuraya has performed well in Eurasia & Africa.

    Because GlobalStar has been able to maintain reasonably reliable messaging service, it works well for SPOT.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Smith View Post
    What is cost for these Sat Phones?
    Varies by carrier, how recent a model it is, whether it's new or refurbished, and whether you buy from a satphone dealer or on the secondary market (online auctions, etc.).

    Prices in US dollars from the dealer I purchased an inmarsat handset from. Should be typical of pricing from most dealers:

    Globalstar recent model: $500
    Globalstar refurbished older model: $249
    There are also data only devices sold under the Spot name in the $100-$200 range including a device that can link to a smartphone.

    InMarSat isatphone pro: $600 with 100 free prepaid minutes

    Iridium recent model: $1,100
    Iridium refurbished older model: $585

    Price of the handset should not be the only consideration. Also consider prepaid or postpaid service plan pricing, price of accessories like spare battery packs, coverage where you need it. If too pricey and only an occasional need, then would suggest a short-term rental when you need it, or possibly borrowing a handset from someone who trusts you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluid View Post
    I wish that this section saw more activity to be honest. I don't know much about satellite service and the such, but I hope that you are able to get your phone issue worked out.
    If you guys have any more questions about Sat phones/Sat comms feel free to ping them off me, if for whatever reason I don't know the answer, I can get it for you!

  10. #25
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    Would like to see Thuraya come to North & South America. Would love one of their Satsleeves.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmadden View Post
    Would like to see Thuraya come to North & South America. Would love one of their Satsleeves.
    Thuraya probably will remain regional in Europe,Asia and the Middle East. Closest to a sat sleeve are mifi devices that work with Globalstar,Iridium or Inmarsat.

  12. #27
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    Whatever happened to the Terrestar Genus?

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GadgetKen View Post
    Thuraya probably will remain regional in Europe,Asia and the Middle East. Closest to a sat sleeve are mifi devices that work with Globalstar,Iridium or Inmarsat.
    I've heard rumor that they are trying to get another satellite launched for "Americas" coverage but nothing in the last few months. The Iridium Go looks nice though.


    via the HoFo App

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by randamin View Post
    Whatever happened to the Terrestar Genus?
    TerreStar went into Chapt 11 bankruptcy. Sad. It seemed like a good idea but the price point was too high.

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