Inmarsat iSatphone | High Sierra Topix  

Inmarsat iSatphone

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:59 pm

Thanks Tim
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8035
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:41 pm

rlown wrote:not sure i ever dug the whole, always connected thing when i'm in the back country. When things go bad, that's when electronics tend to fail. Looks like a great phone, but why?



you ever had a daughter faint while sitting next to you on a rock about a mile above Woods Creek and almost two days away from civilization? Kind of the time you wanna call a doc and ask what to check for. Otherwise, yeah, I've done it dozens of times without any of that junk. But just because you can do it without and have lived, I don't need to be helping Darwin out. Let the herd thin itself, but I am trying to stick around a little longer, or maybe help others to remain part of the overpopulated planet, just because I'd feel bad if I coudln't help, only because I felt like going old school.
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby rlown » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:10 pm

never had that situation, Fish. I can see the benefits in your case. There have been times I wanted a sat phone, but In most of those situations, it wouldn't have worked due to weather; SPOT wouldn't have either. Very informative thread on phone tech.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5349
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:43 am

what exactly is the issue with weather and satellite communications? Lightning interferes? I tried to google an answer and came up empty. My Spot seems to send tracking info during rainstorms, but then we were really never in the thickest stuff, where sparks fly everywhere and your hair stands up... (Darwin's best shot at me so far, but he came up empty)
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby tim » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:23 am

There is no meaningful impairment of satellite phones in bad weather (people get confused because higher frequency satellite TV signals can be affected). The main problem is people think their satellite phone isn't working well because they try and stand out of the rain (under a tree, on the porch of a building, etc.) and that blocks the line of sight.

You wouldn't believe it but there were complaints during Hurricane Katrina about satphones not working - but when asked where the users were located, it turned out they were inside the Superdome. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

"These ****ing satellite phones don't work"
"Did you go outside to use it?"
"Of course not, there's a ****ing hurricane outside"
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby isatphonelive » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:39 am

Hi Fish,

We, Inmarsat, have read your blogs about satphones with interest and wanted to contribute to your discussions in the hope that we can answer a few of your questions.

Firstly, IsatPhone Pro operates on our Inmarsat-4 network, which comprises three satellites and will be operational well into the 2020s. You are right to mention that these three satellites are in geostationary orbit (36,000 km above the equator), meaning the satellites are synchronised with the earth’s rotation so they will always be in the same position relative to earth. Satellites that are in ‘low earth orbit’ do not rotate with the earth and are not nearly as high as geostationary orbit, which is why typically, more satellites are needed to cover the globe in a low earth orbit network. What this all means is that call connections over the Inmarsat network are very reliable and robust (the phone is too btw!), with significantly less possibility of calls being dropped. Severe weather conditions should not interfere with connection either, because of the spectrum band we operate in.

Secondly, in terms of coverage, our network is global, with the exception of the poles, so you will be fine to use it in the Sierra Nevada...or on any other trip you go on. As it is a global network, no roaming costs will apply – it’s the same wherever you go.

IsatPhone Pro is really easy to use and has very good voice quality, which some say is better than a cell phone. It also has the market-leading battery life too with up to 8 hours talk time and up to 100 hours standby time. IsatPhone Pro has many other great features and services and if you can spare the time, you can find out all you need to know on our IsatPhone Pro website www.isatphonelive.com. Check out the product page for all the info. We also offer a free web message-to-IsatPhone Pro service via our website too, so when you’re out and about on a leisure trip, your friends and family can message you for free!

Why not ask your local retailer for a demo of IsatPhone Pro? If you do end up buying one, we hope you find it extremely useful and a key addition to your travel kit - and we hope you tell everyone about it!

Hopefully this has helped to clarify some of your questions but if you need any more information, it’s all on www.isatphonelive.com
User avatar
isatphonelive
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:31 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:03 am

isatphonelive wrote:Hi Fish,

Why not ask your local retailer for a demo of IsatPhone Pro?


local retailer? made me chuckle.

closest retailer to me is probably Dallas, which is only 1200 miles from here. Woudl really help to include the states where the vendors listed on your site are located. City names like "Battle Ground" and Kathona are not really household names around here.

I will most likely have to buy the phone unseen and untested, which is why I am trying to find info online.

And while we apparently have Inmarsat's attention - one thing I can't find is any info on how the "data capability" actually works? How do I get data from for example a camera sent to somebody via the phone? Are data rates = minutes it takes to transfer data?
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby isatphonelive » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:53 am

Hi Fish,

thank you very much for your response. As we are a wholesaler, our services are delivered to market via a global network of distribution parthers and service providers. So on our Find a retailer search, we only list our service partners that are accredited by us. These accredited partners may well have their own re-seller channel that may be closer to you, so it still may be worth giving them a call or having a look on their website to see what they can do for you.

Regarding your data capability question, I have forwarded that to our customer services so if you can bear with us for little bit, we will post a response to it before long.

Thanks again!
User avatar
isatphonelive
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:31 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby isatphonelive » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:48 am

Hi Fish,

Our customer service team advise that the data service supports email. You may be able to send photos via the phone if compressed in an email attachment. To access the data service you will need the latest firmware upgrade (already installed on new IsatPhone Pro's) and software that your service provider will be able to advise of.

Our BGAN service, which is our broadband data service, handles large-file transfer, internet browsing and secure VPN access, as well as offer a portfolio of streaming rates. The service is more suited to handle a lot more data throughput, but naturally, if you are just wanting primarily a satphone for your remote voice communications, IsatPhone Pro would be for you.

I hope this satisfies your questions but if there is anything else we can help with please let us know or speak to one of our US-based accredited service providers.

Thanks again Fish.
User avatar
isatphonelive
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:31 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:21 am

isatphonelive wrote:Hi Fish,

Our customer service team advise that the data service supports email. You may be able to send photos via the phone if compressed in an email attachment. To access the data service you will need the latest firmware upgrade (already installed on new IsatPhone Pro's) and software that your service provider will be able to advise of.

Thanks again Fish.


thanks for the info.

I just read all the data transfer info in the user guide, and it appears what that goes into getting the data into the phone is a huge problem for backcountry users who carry their own gear: it turns out the phone just acts as a modem, and you need to bring a PC along. Too bad, because where I want to take it you just don't carry a laptop or even a netbook along. Bummer, since if it could actually email from the handset, even to just a preset address like the Spot, and read in data from a card slot, it would be much more attractive.

And then there's that monthly service plan you're forced to buy in the US - what's up with that? Users like me will maybe power up their sat phone two or three times during a trip, but for 11 months straight it'll sit on the shelf and will be of no use whatsoever. A 120 minute prepaid card with 2 year expiration would last me for 2 years easily. Can't do that int he US - and it is costing you customers. I am probably the first one.

Why can I buy prepaid air time for Europe, but not for use in the US? This is one major problem when it comes to reaching occasional use adventure types with this product. Iriduim loses on the same front due to their silly short term prepaid card expiration times. If their cards didn't essentially self destroy after a month or two without me adding money over and over again, I would have bought their phone a year ago. Their loss. It is almost like they don't want subscribers who need the phone twice a year for 3 weeks as a standby emergency tool but don't want to pay endless fees to keep the expensive minutes they bought in the first place.

At least the monthly fee for the iSatphone is no more than 75 prepaid minutes on the Iridium, but then I still have to pay for minutes. For me, that's the biggest reason to be hesitant and not buy one. Maybe next year will really bring devices that are much more useful for our types of use.
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:26 pm

Fish wrote "Users like me will maybe power up their sat phone two or three times
during a trip, but for 11 months straight it'll sit on the shelf and will be of no use
whatsoever."

This was another reason for dropping Globalstar, besides the billing issues, and
the sorry customer service.
There should be a plan for folks like us who only would use it a few months out of the
year, and then be able to go into a stand-by mode for the rest time, but have an
option to use it in case of an emergency, or some sort of natural disaster, instead of
having to pay a reactivation fee each year at the beginning of the season.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8035
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby tim » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:49 am

fishmonger wrote:It is almost like they don't want subscribers who need the phone twice a year for 3 weeks as a standby emergency tool but don't want to pay endless fees to keep the expensive minutes they bought in the first place ... Maybe next year will really bring devices that are much more useful for our types of use.


That's exactly the issue, no satellite phone provider (or distributor) particularly wants subscribers who just use it occasionally and won't pay for the privilege. There's plenty of people (companies, disaster response, etc.) who will pay $40 to $60 per month for that emergency capability (in fact about half of the paying satphone customers out there never make a call), and you'd be giving away all that revenue if you offered it at a way lower price. In fact, Inmarsat's prepaid pricing (outside the US) accomplishes precisely that, and may be just too low to build a substantial revenue base (Inmarsat would love to drive Iridium out of business, and have plenty of revenue from other services, so its not an altruistic approach). Inmarsat's issue with no prepaid in the US relates to a patent dispute over their billing platform - maybe it will get solved, maybe not.

Sorry, but we're just not that important. Think about it from a dealer's point of view. They maybe make $100-$150 on a $500-$600 satphone and then $60 on a $120 prepaid card, and then never see the customer for two years, at which point they have probably forgotten about you. When you sell a couple of dozen satphones a month (maybe 100 for the biggest distributors) it really isn't a great business, compared to cellphones where you can sell a couple of dozen phones (and make $300 per customer) every day.

You have to look to products targeted at the consumer market for consumer-oriented pricing. That's going to mean SPOT and future two-way messaging devices, which have enough volume (and margin on the equipment) to end up in REI, etc. It probably won't mean satphones any time soon.
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

PreviousNext

Return to Outdoor Gear Topix



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MarchingOn and 4 guests