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Author Topic: Satellite phone rentals  (Read 2168 times)

Sun2Retire

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2016, 05:31:06 PM »
The iridium rental I linked to earlier doesn't appear to require the purchase of a "plan". You can purchase pre-paid minutes ($1.16-$1.69/min depending on quantity), or not buy any and get billed for actual usage at $1.75/min. The latter would seem to be the way I'd want to go, given my intended minimal (emergency) usage, at least for the first year.

See here and scroll down the page for details.

FWIW I'd only need the phone for 3-4 months a year.

This is kinda the direction I'm leaning. The SPOT thingy has very limited (35 character) inbound texting only, and texting is fairly important both because it's an often used form of communication which many of our tenants (and my kids) use, but it's usually a cheaper form due to less bandwidth.

Apparently some of the fairly old Iridium phones don't support texting but some "sorta old" ones do. I'm wondering if I could pick one up on eBay then setup a pay as you go. There are some Iridium phones for $200-500 on eBay. At $125-$250/mo rental seems like a possible alternative. Leave it in a drawer till you're going somewhere you need it then turn it on.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

Kevin Means

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2016, 12:59:24 PM »
In March of 2015, I was training with a law enforcement/SAR helicopter crew based out of Kalispell, Montana, and we were dispatched to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area to locate and rescue a hiker who had pushed the Emer button on his SPOT transmitter when he began having chest pains (He was hiking alone). The hiker's son had gotten the satellite-relayed distress message and contacted the Sheriff's office. If you're not familiar with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, it's thousands of square miles of some of the tallest, ruggedest mountains in the country - almost completely uninhabited.

From the time we got the message to the time we had the hiker in the aircraft, only about 90 minutes had elapsed - and that was mostly flight time. The SPOT device was dead-on accurate. He was exactly where his GPS coordinates said he would be. Pretty impressive little device.

Kev 
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

Sun2Retire

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2016, 11:57:07 AM »
The iridium rental I linked to earlier doesn't appear to require the purchase of a "plan". You can purchase pre-paid minutes ($1.16-$1.69/min depending on quantity), or not buy any and get billed for actual usage at $1.75/min. The latter would seem to be the way I'd want to go, given my intended minimal (emergency) usage, at least for the first year.

See here and scroll down the page for details.

FWIW I'd only need the phone for 3-4 months a year.

Update: gave these folks (Global.com) a call and talked about rates both for an owned phone and for rental.

Using Tom's example of 4 month's usage per year here's the costs I came up with:

Buy phone: eBay $300 avg price Iridium 9505A (varies between $200-500) + 200 min prepaid SIM card good for 12 mos ($445) = $745. Thereafter the following year would cost $445 for just the prepaid card

Rent phone: $140/mo + $100 shipping round trip = $660 if phone is never used (airtime not included). Thereafter, same price (obviously) so second year would cost about $130 more than owning

So the absolute cheapest route for 4 month's usage during one year, never actually using the phone, is to rent ($660/year for 4 mos). Cost to own is $445/yr for year 2 and after putting one ahead with ownership in year 3 and after. If using for less than 4 months renting becomes a better deal unless you actually use the phone during the times you're out of cell range. Assuming you actually did use 200 min on both the rented and owned phones, cost to own first year is still $745, but cost to rent jumps to $1010.

Pre-paid SIM cards expire so can't just buy one and sit on it. The 75 min cards expire in a month, the 200 min cards expire in a year
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

Tom

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2016, 12:02:14 PM »
Thanks for that analysis Scott.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

VallAndMo

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2016, 12:32:43 PM »
Hello Scott,

Update: gave these folks (Global.com) a call and talked about rates both for an owned phone and for rental.
[...]
Pre-paid SIM cards expire so can't just buy one and sit on it. The 75 min cards expire in a month, the 200 min cards expire in a year

Thanks for the detailed info, Scott!

The prices are much better than the last time I checked. In fact, considering only the monthy cost (445/12= $37.08) they are actually cheaper than the DeLorme InReach plans w/ "unlimited" messages.

One thing: have you asked about texting? Is any included in those Iridium plans you asked about, or do they cost extra?

Cheers,
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   Vall.

Sun2Retire

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2016, 03:05:20 PM »
Oops, forgot to add that. The following is still from Global.com:

Texting from pre-paid SIM card: Inbound texts are free. Each outbound text uses one minute of airtime from your plan.

Texting from rental phone: Inbound texts are free. Each outbound text is 75 cents.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

But wait, there's more....

Talked to Roadpost, same questions. Their rates are better:

Iridium 9505A rental: $8/day + $40 shipping round trip, no minimum rental period. With no pre-purchase, airtime is $1.79/min outbound, inbound calls from US are free to you but not caller (see below). Inbound texts free, outbound texts are 69 cents each.

If you already have a phone, they also have pre-paid SIM cards, but they will extend the 75 minute card expiry out to a total of 4 months (you call them a couple days before the standard 30 day expiry and they extend, no charge). 75 minute card is $150. This means instead of buying the 200 minute card from Global to cover a 4 month period (as noted in my previous post), you could buy just the 75 minute card from Roadpost and make it last the whole 4 months (assuming of course you didn't use it up). On the pre-paid card inbound texts are free, outbound texts are 75 cents. Seems like you could send a text to someone asking them to call. However....... while there is no charge to you as the Iridium phone user, the caller will get charged big time. To call an Iridium phone from a Verizon cell phone is about $6/min.
Scott
2005 Newmar Dutch Star 3810, Spartan, Cat C7 350 "OURVEE"
Eezrv TPMS, VMSpc, 800W Solar
2002 Dodge RAM 1500 Quad Cab "RTOAD"
Stowmaster towbar & Brakemaster

VallAndMo

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2016, 07:07:42 PM »
Hello Scott,

Thanks again re: texts. Free to receive is good, Delorme InReach pays (or counts against plan quota) for every message, sent or received.

I just searched my records and found these, posting it here in case anyone finds it interesting:
  • Iridium Satellite Emergency 9-1-1 Service Launch Q & A, Feb 2005. Do not know if it's up-to-date (probably not), but we dialed 911 from our Iridium phone (friend's car got stuck and needed a tow in the middle of nowhere) and was indeed answered by a Emergency Service Center, which put us in touch with local SAR service, which warned him the tow would cost $$$ and then put him in touch with a local tow provider.
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  • Satellite Phone Store: rented an Iridium phone from them for 2 weeks in early 2013. Total cost was $192.73, including 9505A phone, mag antenna for the RV roof, 25 minutes of service, and two-way 2nd-day UPS shipping.

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

voyaginator

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2016, 04:53:26 PM »
There is also a new satellite hub that acts as Wi-Fi hotspot to connect iOS or Android phones, tablets, and laptops to the Inmarsat satellite network, the  Wideye iSavi -   http://goo.gl/ushRrB  Connection speed around 240 Kbps send, 380 Kbps receive.
Major advantage is that it is easily portable, and powered by rechargeable battery of solar panel. It supports supports 3G SIM roaming with a few selected Mobile Network Operators 3G SIM cards.

VallAndMo

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Re: Satellite phone rentals
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2016, 05:51:30 PM »
Hello,

There is also a new satellite hub that acts as Wi-Fi hotspot to connect iOS or Android phones, tablets, and laptops to the Inmarsat satellite network, the  Wideye iSavi -   http://goo.gl/ushRrB  Connection speed around 240 Kbps send, 380 Kbps receive.
Major advantage is that it is easily portable, and powered by rechargeable battery of solar panel. It supports supports 3G SIM roaming with a few selected Mobile Network Operators 3G SIM cards.

Interesting. But given that the inMarsat "network" is geostationary, it (1) consists of just one satellite for North America, which (2) sits very low in the South sky, and (3) has relatively high latency, I would advise anyone willing to invest the $1300 the device is being sold for at Amazon (to say nothing of the service plan, see below) to wait for some more reviews... it has just one review so far, which I think is too little for this amount of investment.

Also, the device is being sold at significantly lower cost ($1100 instead of $1300) straight from the seller's website

I was also able to locate their "airtime plans" page, and the cost is *really* outrageous: $375 for a monthly 100MB (yes, that's 1/10 of a GB) of traffic... and each additional MB costs $3.75. Wow... a single GB a month would then cost the "bargain" of $3750(!!!). And one can easily go *many* times over 1GB just by reading email and light web usage. Their largest (and, per MB, less horrendously expensive) package is 2GB for $6060, which works out to $3030 per GB. Still totally insane IMHO. I'm (sticker) shocked...

If I ever need this kind of "eye in the sky" connectivity, I would go with a standard, parabolic antenna sat link installation like this couple is doing. Granted, the initial investment is larger ($6000 plus installation, instead of $1100/1300), but the cost per GB is just $25 (for the smallest, 5GB package) instead of $3750, so after just a couple of GBs, the initial cost would be more than paid for.

Re-reading the above, I think I must be understanding something wrong... over $3000 per GB *is* insane. But if I'm making some mistake, I sure can't see it...

Cheers,
--
   Vall.

« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 05:55:35 PM by VallAndMo »

 

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