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Satellite phone price changes

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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby fishmonger » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:30 pm

well, my isatphone phone came with a 2 year 100 minute plan - we'll see how that works out should I keep it beyond next week. The vendor I used is still offering extend time prepaid sims

http://www.satellitephonestore.com/inma ... e-vouchers


As for in the field experiences - I had it out on Isle Royale for 10 days and it worked alright, except for Sunday afternoon, when for 4 hours it simply would not register with the network, although satellite was at full bars and I was standing on a dock on Lake Superior with no trees around. same location worked fine next morning. I have a hunch they may be overloaded on sunday afternoon when all sailors call mom at home. No reply from the provider yet, but my gut feeling is that after 4 hours of not getting through, the thing is completely useless for what I bought it for. Going to ebay, and I am back at square one. I didn't buy the phone to not be able to connect to the satellite even when it is in full view, only to see "registering with network" for several minutes and then just a fail.



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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby maverick » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:16 pm

This is disappointing news to hear Fish, especially since my wife keeps hinting that a
Sat Phone would be a good idea. I still have my Globalstar phone, but will not give
in to the prices and plans they have to offer. :snipe:
4 hours of no service in a open sky is totally unexceptable, but a legitimate reason
not to get one. :unibrow:
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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby tim » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:44 am

A Low Earth Orbit system (Iridium or Globalstar) should almost never have multi-hour duration outages, because you have a different satellite coming over every 5-15 minutes (5-8 mins for Iridium, 10-15 for Globalstar). Globalstar's availability is now up to 85% or so in the Sierra - the biggest gaps you would encounter are less than an hour - not perfect, but getting there.

The inReach had a couple of brief outages (presumably dud satellites) during my trip, but always connected within 15 mins or less.

This was presumably the Inmarsat satellite problem you encountered:
http://mvsnet.net/mvs-usa/wiki/index/in ... oryid=news
Duration was 16 hours, it says only people on "dark beams" were affected, which I believe would include satphone users in any location without high levels of use (they turn the beam dark to save power when no-one is using it) - presumably the Midwest is one of those places.
Single event upsets are fairly rare occurences (caused by cosmic rays hitting the satellite and flipping a bit in the CPU which crashes the program), probably once a year or less.
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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby fishmonger » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:42 pm

tim wrote: "dark beams" were affected, which I believe would include satphone users in any location without high levels of use (they turn the beam dark to save power when no-one is using it)


I have moved over to the dark side, I guess. I saw a number of big ships around me on the lake, figuring that they were sucking up all my bandwidth, but I guess it was the Brazilian elections I now need to blame :D

My provider sent me a similar message, but with much less technical detail. Good to know that there are places other than the "support" site on the web where you can actually find out what was going on. I will have to give the phone another chance, because when it was working, it worked just fine. I mostly sent and received texts, even text to email, every time I wanted to, except for that outage window.

I still need to test in the Sierra - earliest chance will be spring 2013, and given the outage wasn't "normal" I will give the phone a chance until then - no ongoing costs are a good thing!
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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby xNateX » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:13 am

Thanks to everyone here who is taking the time to keep this satphone thread alive and up-to-date. While I'm not in the market for one at this time, I foresee the need coming up and am grateful to have a condensed version of what's what available.
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Re: Satellite phone price changes

Postby tim » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:49 am

fishmonger wrote:well, my isatphone phone came with a 2 year 100 minute plan - we'll see how that works out should I keep it beyond next week. The vendor I used is still offering extend time prepaid sims
http://www.satellitephonestore.com/inma ... e-vouchers


I checked on the background: a limited number of 2 year SIMs which were purchased by distributors before the price changes came into effect are still available for sale. It is unclear if Inmarsat will place any deadline on when they have to be activated (end of this year?), but that is possible. In any case, once they are gone, you will have to move to the new cards which have much more limited duration.

So if you are considering getting a phone for next year, it might be worth thinking about it now, not leaving it until next spring, because then you can use the 2 year duration SIM.
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