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Iridium vs Inmarsat

Each have their own competitive advantage, unique terms and pricing plans.

Pre-paid, Post-paid, 24, 12 or 6 month agreements, casual use, business plans, private use, no two are the same... a bit like mobile phone companies and... only one will be best for you!

So contact us or call for a no obligation quote 1300 368 858 (7 DAYS)

Inmarsat Vs Iridium - Satellite Phones

In Australia, Iridium and Inmarsat are two dominant satellite phone networks. Each have their own satellite phones manufactured for them.We have read ‘independent’ reports commissioned by various parties that show the overall advantage being held by one satellite phone / network over the other, however in our view here are some important questions to ask when selecting your satellite phone and network.

 

1. Do I want to be available to receive calls on the satellite phone most of the time?

2. Do I want to use it in the car or boat?

3. Will I be using the phone in very hilly terrain?

4. Is the satellite phone primarily for emergency / convenience purposes when I am travelling out of normal mobile range?

5. How often am I likely to be in a circumstance when I may need to use the phone?

 

The following is provided and intended as an introductory satellite phone guide only, to assist with satellite phone selection preferences and is not intended as an exact comparison, nor are the comments absolute. We invite you to discuss your particular needs, budget and usage pattern with us.
We can then recommend the best value connection for your requirements and usage pattern.

  

 Make /Model/Network
Satellite Phone model 


Benefit to you

 **Iridium 
 9505A

 

 Iridium 9555/9575

 

 Inmarsat
 IsatPhone Pro

 Price

 

 

 Lowest handset price (May. 2013)

 Pre-paid (Best low use value)

 Varies***

 Varies***

 Usually better value - many options

 Ability to receive calls

 Yes*

 Yes*

 *Need to be aligned to satellite*

 Angle to sky dependent

 No

 No

 Yes

 Pre-paid options

 Yes

 Yes

 Yes

 Post-paid plans

 Yes

 Yes

 Yes

 Omni directional

 Yes

 Yes

 No

 Best value to make calls to
 the  phone

 Yes

 Yes

 Telstra can charge 3-4 times that of
 similar calls to an Iridium phone

 Included external antenna

 Yes

 Yes

 Optional external antenna available 

 Free SMS from web

 Yes

 Yes

 Yes

 Orbit

 LEO*

 LEO*

 Geo-synchronous*

 Number of satellites

 66

 66

 3

 Fits existing 9505A H/free kits

 Yes

 

 

 

 

 

*LEO- Low Earth Orbit.
These rotate around the earth so in mountainous terrain you are more likely to receive coverage at some time whereas if you are in a valley with a phone that uses a geo-synchronous satellite and your path to the satellite is blocked by the mountain then you will need away from that obstruction until you have clear line of sight to the satellite. LEO is similar to a giant mobile phone network in the sky but instead of you driving through the network, the network revolves around you (the Earth).

*Geo-synchronous.
These satellites are always in the same position relative to the earth. These may have a lower call dropout rate as in normal use you are not handed from one satellite to another.
See angle look up chart below.

**Iridium 9505A
The Iridium 9505A has been very popular in aircraft with many operators choosing to install hands free kits with external antennas etc. The 9555 and 9575 do not fit into these kits. As at April 2013 these phones are still available to us. Please call to confirm availability.

  

 *** Iridium Pre-paid cards 

The validity period or life of the card depends on the amount of pre-paid airtime purchased. Basically the more airtime you purchase the longer you have to use it. Iridium have excellent pre-paid options including where users require access over a short term 1-3 months and moderate to higher usage 1- 2 minutes / day and above. Card validity periods vary from one month to one year with extension periods usually available as long as top ups are purchased and activated prior to relevant card expiry dates. Please contact us for information regarding your requirements.

 

Inmarsat view angle map 
Looking at the map, you can approximate the direction and how many degrees up from the horizon one of the Inmarsat satellites will be (where to point your phone with the antenna fully extended) e.g. If you are at Alice Springs you will point the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro in a northerly direction at about 60 degrees above the horizon. If you are in Darwin you would point the phone in a northerly direction but almost straight up at at 75 degrees (not quite verticle at 90 degrees). The phone will need a clear line of sight to that position in the sky i.e. clear of buildings, mountains, tree foliage etc

   

If you have a question just call us 1300 368 858 seven days.

 

 inmarsat-isatphone-pro-satellite-angle-map.jpg

 When travelling towards either of the polar regions Iridium would be the network of choice.

  

Thuraya Phone coverage

The Thuraya satellite located closest to Australia is based just west of Singapore 37,000 KMS above the equator. Indicated here by red arrows. Please be aware that you will need to see a clear line of site “look up angle” above the virtual horizon in that direction. If that path is not visible due to buildings, mountains heavy foliage etc. then the phone will need be repositioned so it can see the satellite. Please consider this when selecting a satellite phone. If in doubt please contact us for an unbiased opinion of how each of the satellite phones and their respective networks will perform for you.

 

thuraya-coverage-map.png

 

Example 

If you were in Alice Springs your phone would need to see an angle of 44 degrees above the "virtual" horizon which is half way up to the vertical and in a north westerly direction.

Locations and their vertical angle in degrees to the satellite 

Broome                 55     Darwin      50     Perth                   48
Alice Springs        44     Cairns       33     Adelaide               31
Melbourne             25     Brisbane    23     Sydney                 22
Hobart                  20
Port Moresby (PNG) 33

(These angles are approximate & were calculated using the Dish Align App 2014.)

 

 

thuraya-satellite-angle-australia.png

 

 

ClientSAT provides a free service to new or existing satellite phone users who want the best that airtime providers can offer!

 

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