Satellite phones

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 19:30
ThreadID: 124338 Views:5318 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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We are buying a satellite phone in the near future and are trying to decide whether to go with Telstra/Iridium or Globalstar. We would appreciate advice from members experienced with either of these phones.

Thanks for your help.

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Reply By: Pixellator - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 21:35

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 21:35
Col & Diane

I have carried a Telstra Iridium Sat phone since 3/2005. Have used it once or twice for urgent calls, otherwise it's been our 'insurance policy'. Have never had a problem with coverage, I turn it on regularly.

A friend we travelled with in 2006 had a CDMA/Sat combination on Globalstar. The CDMA side was fine, but he often had no Sat coverage when I did. To do with the height of orbit of the satellites I think.

You can still get the Fedreral Government subsidy, which goes a fair way towards the cost of the phone, and you can pay it off on yourTelstra account over two years, interest free I think. I am on a $30 per month plan, which is fine for what I need. This includes $10 of monthly call credits, which equates to about three minutes' call time.

You'll get conflicting opinions on the HF radio/ Sat phone debate, but for me the Sat phone has been the better option.

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Follow Up By: Cargra - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:10

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:10
G;day Bob,

Have never tried getting a sat phone as I thought they were fairly expensive and was under the impression you were only able to get the gov subsidy if you had no access to a landline in your area or required one for your business (eg remote primary producer) so would be interested to hear if it is possible for remote touring purposes.

thanks graham
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Follow Up By: Pixellator - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 20:33

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 20:33

The advivce from Telstra back in 2005 was that if you are spending significant time in (remote) areas that don't have normal mobile coverage, then you are eligible for the susbsidy. In my case, my intention was to travel over a period of around twelve months, mostly in remote areas. I nominated Birdsville and Innamincka, as wells as areas of remote WA, where I would be travelling, and they agreed to the subsidy.

Here is a link:
Site Link

Good luck.
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Reply By: Yogi and Muffin - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 22:06

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 22:06
Hi Col and Diane,

We have an Iridium and we would not go anywhere else. I did quite a bit of research before purchasing one last year and the only one that had proper coverage was iridium. It is now backed by the USA dept. of defence so they will not go broke either. They are also backed by Telstra.

In June last year we unfortunately rolled our BT and our Landcruiser (both written off) on the Oodnadatta track. My wife was trapped in the vehicle. There was no other traffic for hours. I dialled 000 on the iridium satphone and had the emergency services there in 40 mins. It is likely that without the satphone my wife would have lost the use of her right hand. It has more than paid for itself.

Later that day we were transported by the Royal Flying Doctor service to Alice Springs and I asked them about satphones. They exclusively use Iridium having given up on the other carriers.

As far as I am concerned the choice is totally clear. Go IRIDIUM.


Yogi & Muffin

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Reply By: Motley - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 23:10

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 23:10
My understanding is that about 3 of the satellites which form part of the Globalstar network have actually failed and that this is the reason for their erratic coverage.


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Reply By: F Troop - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 00:41

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 00:41
Try the iridium, we have a Globalstar and I would not recomend one.
It works, sort of, most of the time, sometimes, usualy.

But it definatly worked last year betwen Port Headland and Broom when the Bank rang to say I was overdrawn on my fuel acc.
I had a Hell of a time trying to ring to get a dentist apointment for Jan, while in Kalumbarooo, but we did get through in the end.

All the folks I have run into with the Iridium seem happy.


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Reply By: The Tower Trackers - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 01:20

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 01:20
We have had a satellite phone with Globalstar for about 4 years and have just recently to close it down due to the fact of no coverage when you needed to use it.
Rang Globalstar about 8 times in 2007 to be told every time that they were putting up new sallelites "next month" and the coverage would be better - never happened and the coverage never improved - so we cancelled in disgust.

I have heard nothing but good reports about the Telstra Iridium phones - but it wouldn't have to be much better to beat Globalstar coverage!!!!!

Summing up DON'T touch Globalstar go Telstra!!!!!!

Good Luck

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Reply By: Ski Ali - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 07:18

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 07:18
Hello Col and Dianne
Totally agree with the comments about Globalstar. We had a borrowed unit when we needed to phone home from Dalhousie Springs 2006 with a sheared camper trailer axle. Got through with Globalstar but very hit and miss. Got us out of trouble but will try Telstra next time.
Globalstar is Satellite and Digital where I think Telstra is only Satellite. Can anyone confirm this.
Col and Val
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Reply By: Black Cobra - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 07:24

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 07:24
Col & Diane,

I have a Iridium and looked at the Globalstar but after the research Globalstar do not have the satellites and that is why the bleep ty coverage. Do not get the Globalstar go Iridium and you cannot go wrong.

Purchased mine through the subsidy scheme and if you qualify you get the phone for half price but it is hard the qualify for. My mate tried to get one recently under the scheme but it was all to hard.

Use mine for emergencies and pay $28/mth but I did use it a few times on our last trip to organise a new rear window for the truck when broke it on the Birdsville Track.

Used the Iridium in Iraq when I was over there and it worked excellent even better than the Thuraya sat phones they have over that side of the world. Had two Thuraya's but they don't work over this side of the world so don't buy one of those if someone offers them to you but I don't think they sell them here.

Oh by the way Globalstar when they do work only work 200 miles of the coast of Oz and thats it where Iridium work world wide.

AnswerID: 574003

Reply By: Bato - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 08:16

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 08:16
Col & Diane,

Some years ago we hired a Global Star phone and found it to be very hit and miss in the bush.

We now own a Telstra Iridium phone and have found it to have excellent coverage when ever we need to use it.On very rare occasions it will drop out if it looses the saterlite.You only need to wait a few minutes and the signal will return.

Bato Keith & Susan

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Reply By: Mike & Carol - Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 22:06

Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 22:06

For safety and emergency security we purchased the Globalstar because it also had CDMA.

It has been a complete failure. Each time we really needed satellite access it failed. The last time was June 2007, we rolled our Bushtracker on the Tanami Track, fortunately no one was hurt, but when we tried to call out for help on the Globalstar Sat Phone - it FAILED to connect!!!

Do yourselves a big favour and buy the Iridium phone.

Happy and safe travellng
AnswerID: 574005

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