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Old 04-12-2008, 12:46   #1
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Globalstar Service Reliability

I'm getting ready for full time cruising next Fall and am debating which satellite service to use. During the first half of 2006, I used a Globalstar phone sailing from Brazil to the US east coast. I still have the equipment, but am surprised I didn't throw it overboard in frustration. Frequently, I could not get any signal. When I could, it was fine for e-mail (using Ocens e-mail and Weathernet services), but I rarely had a phone call that stayed connected for longer than 2 or 3 minutes. This happened with equal frequency throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas.

My question, of course, is has the service improved since 2006? I'd be interested in hearing from current users in these areas. I'll be cruising through the same areas and am contemplating biting the bullet and getting an Irridum phone, but of course would prefer not to spend the dough.

Thanks all.
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Old 04-12-2008, 14:22   #2
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Unfortunately, nothing has changed since 2006.
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Old 04-12-2008, 18:11   #3
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Old 04-12-2008, 18:19   #4
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How do these crappy companies stay in business. Do you guys continue to subscribe even though it does not deliver the service?
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Old 04-12-2008, 19:15   #5
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What has changed is the price of service in recognition that you can't get it very often! $39.99 for unlimited air time this year and $19.99 next year! HERE:

"Globalstar is the only mobile satellite operator launching spare satellites for our existing network, and building a new generation satellite constellation, scheduled to begin deployment in 2009. With the launch of eight spare satellites scheduled for this year, along with our existing satellite network, Globalstar will continue to provide and support two-way voice and data satellite services to our customers through the launch of the second-generation constellation. Until we launch our second generation, you may experience difficulty connecting or sustaining longer calls at certain times in certain locations. Because our service is not optimal at this time, we are offering our customers special incentives. Sign up now and get a bonus year of unlimited service for only $19.99/month for one full year after Second Generation network launch."

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Old 05-12-2008, 06:52   #6
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Thanks, guys, for the update. I was afraid things hadn't changed. I guess it's a new Irridium for me for Xmas.

Chuck - When one spends $2000 for a phone, charger, data cord, etc. it's not an easy decision to just dump it and spend another $2000+ for an Irridium, or even more for Inmarsat. So, being critical of "these guys" for "continuing to subscribe even though it does not deliver the service" is an over-simplification. I'm sure they'd love to get their money back and start over (as I would), but it's not quite that easy.
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Old 12-12-2008, 13:19   #7
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Yeah, our company used to deal on Globalstar. The power supplies on their satellites are failing hard, so the amount of birds in the sky is VERY reduced. Once in a while, there is one over you and you get signal, but usually there is very little.

It is NOT current something I'd depend on for any emergency.
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Old 12-12-2008, 13:39   #8
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Anathema, I agree with your analysis totally : at the moment, no one should rely upon Globalstar for emergencies, or as a sole mode of communication offshore. That being said, they have information on the web showing the 'optimium' times for a call from your lat/longtitude on any give day. Yes, the windows are often very small (some only 10 minuntes), and while I can't speak to the accuracy from all locations, in limited testing the phones do seem to work during those spans.

I have decided to keep my globalstar and use it as an augment to my SSB. The price now for 'unlimited calling/text messages' is incredibly low; further, they are in the process of sending up new and improved satellites. For those, like me, who already own the phone, pelican case, spare battery, date cable etc., etc., there is still some value to maintaining the service.

Brad
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Old 12-12-2008, 14:35   #9
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I agree, at the current prices, if you already have the equipment, it is certainly worth it to maintain the service. It is essentially costing you nothing and may just happen to work when you need it.

On the other hand, I would not outlay the thousands needed for a system at this point.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:57   #10
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Anything new with Globalstar? Are their new satellites coming on line?
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:57   #11
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Where will you be cruising? The Caribbean has wifi everywhere and Skype works fine for worldwide phone conversation. We carry an "open" cell phone and buy sim chips on each island for $10 if we are going to be there a while. Iridium is worldwide but data transfer is sllooow and minutes are expensive. Imarsat has a new system for smaller boats (150 or 250, i think) but Expensive.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:56   #12
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We are looking at a boat which has one already installed, and we're wondering whether it has any value. Naturally we use GSM and WiFi as our main telecomm solution, but we would like to have satellite for remote areas and open ocean. Globalstar is quite cheap and if it's working better than it was last year it could be useful.

I was sailing in the Sea of Cortez this winter and had no GSM reception for several days -- completely cut off from the world! It was pleasant, but I can't really afford to be without comms for days on end.
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Old 04-07-2009, 17:50   #13
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I use GlobalStar as a paging service. I leave the phone on all the time. Should the message light turn on I try to find a land line. Failing that I stare at the phones screen for 30 or minutes or so till a satellite shows up.
You never get stuck for long talking on the phone!
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Old 05-07-2009, 13:05   #14
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I guess that means that nothing has changed?
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Old 05-07-2009, 14:14   #15
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Absolutely correct!
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