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Old 07-08-2013, 14:39   #1
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Satellite phone provider

Hi All,
We have an Iridium Phone installed on the boat we just bought and we are now seeking a provider.
Main use will be Emailing and calls only when necessary.
Suggestions and advise will be most appreciated!!

Thanks
Ron
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Old 08-08-2013, 23:04   #2
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Re: Satellite phone provider

Would also like this information as I am looking at an IRIDIUM PILOT for internet use.
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Old 08-08-2013, 23:07   #3
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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Originally Posted by SY CoSinus View Post
Hi All,
We have an Iridium Phone installed on the boat we just bought and we are now seeking a provider.
Main use will be Emailing and calls only when necessary.
Suggestions and advise will be most appreciated!!

Thanks
Ron
Hi Ron, maybe you could clarify a bit - what kind of "provider" are you looking for? A provider of prepaid Iridium minutes? (easy to find online) A provider of satellite email services/software? (quite a few threads about that already)
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Old 10-08-2013, 14:21   #4
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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Hi Ron, maybe you could clarify a bit - what kind of "provider" are you looking for? A provider of prepaid Iridium minutes? (easy to find online) A provider of satellite email services/software? (quite a few threads about that already)
Hi galacticair,
I am actually looking for both.
Question is, do I HAVE to have an Iridium provider only because the phone itself is Iridium or can I have a different one?
One of the boats I skippered (not mine) had a Thrane & Thrane set-up and AmosConnect software for emailing. I don't know to whom they were connected (minutes wise) but from what they told me, it was a good set-up and relatively cheap.
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Old 10-08-2013, 17:50   #5
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Re: Satellite phone provider

for iridium , you either buy prepaid minutes or you need a credit account with an iridium service provider. ( they send you a SIM card)

You don't need any further providers, other then standard internet ones like GMail etc. But most users use a specialist provider that provides compression , mail storage and spam control etc.

Dave
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:28   #6
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
for iridium , you either buy prepaid minutes or you need a credit account with an iridium service provider. ( they send you a SIM card)

You don't need any further providers, other then standard internet ones like GMail etc. But most users use a specialist provider that provides compression , mail storage and spam control etc.

Dave
Thanks Dave!

If I understand correctly, I need to find only an Iridium provider and just take the right plan for us? The rest is pretty much straight forward.

Thanks
Ron
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Old 13-08-2013, 22:32   #7
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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Thanks Dave!

If I understand correctly, I need to find only an Iridium provider and just take the right plan for us? The rest is pretty much straight forward.

Thanks
Ron
Correct for getting an Iridium SIM card that enables the voice/data calling capability (like a SIM on your phone).

[EDIT: following description applies if you're using a bandwidth-limited handheld satphone system like Iridium 9555, Iridium Extreme or Inmarsat Isatphone -- don't think you absolutely need dedicated email software for higher-bandwidth Iridium Pilot or Inmarsat Fleet solutions, although it may still help]

However, it's not so straightforward for email. You could theoretically use Iridium's free proprietary data software (Iridium Direct Internet 3.0) to connect to the internet and then launch gmail in your regular browser. However, given the VERY slow speed of the Iridium handheld data connection (true of all handheld satphones as far as I know), this approach is unworkable in practice (even if you try to turn off all the usual bandwidth hogs: browser images off, all automatic software updates off: Windows, antivirus, browser, Apple/itunes, etc). I've tried and never got it to work to any reasonable level of satisfaction.

Which is why most people do use some kind of specialized satellite-email software to establish a connection with a dedicated email server onshore (+often using a compression algorithm to maximize the connection speed). This dedicated email connection is firewalled such that the computer doesn't detect this as a traditional "internet" connection, so it doesn't try to run the usual automatic updates & other internet bandwidth hogs that will overwhelm the satphone's bandwidth.

There are a number of threads here that discuss the various email software programs. Some of the names that come up most are:
- XGate by GlobalMarineNet (GMN)
- Teleport-IT/Express Mail by MailaSail
- UUplus by UUplus OR Spsmail
- Skyfile Mail by Vizada
- AmosConnect by Stratos

Each of these is broadly similar and highly effective, but offers different payment plans (monthly/annual, etc), occasionally different features (XGate in particular being more feature rich), and different levels of installation support (installing satphone email isn't trivial if you have limited computer skills). I've also heard that some vendors of Iridium SIM cards/minutes will bundle free/cheap access to one of these software solutions, but don't exactly know which ones do this (worth asking your SIM card vendor).

My personal favorite is Vizada's Skyfile Mail because it's free, simple and works well, but it certainly isn't the most common in the yachting community.

It's worth researching the software so you get comfortable that it will suit your needs. Once you installed and gotten used to it, it's pretty "fire & forget" and should give you no trouble.

Relevant threads:
Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

Internet / Email Access via Iridium
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Old 13-08-2013, 22:46   #8
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Re: Satellite phone provider

I use satellitephonestore.com and have had pretty decent luck for a couple of years now. I have the prepaid plans and they're fairly competitive with everyone else.

For email (and weather .tif images and forecast texts) I use uuplus .

I'd steer clear of the mailasail and xgate (and maybe some others) that require you to get "online" with your Iridium phone. Uuplus (and others like it) just have a number it dials. My limited experience has shown it to be a decent amount faster.
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Old 13-08-2013, 23:21   #9
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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I use satellitephonestore.com and have had pretty decent luck for a couple of years now. I have the prepaid plans and they're fairly competitive with everyone else.

For email (and weather .tif images and forecast texts) I use uuplus .

I'd steer clear of the mailasail and xgate (and maybe some others) that require you to get "online" with your Iridium phone. Uuplus (and others like it) just have a number it dials. My limited experience has shown it to be a decent amount faster.
+1.

Vizada's Skyfile mail connects very similarly to UUplus, and both work well - simple but quick.

For both equipment and minutes packages, in addition to satellitephonestore.com (which I've also used and recommend), I've used satphonestore.com (not the same!) and am equally satisfied with them. Worth starting your satphone/minutes shopping with these two sites (no connection to me), especially if you are US based.
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Old 14-08-2013, 00:58   #10
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We've been using Outfitter Satellite and initially got a Stratus SIM and used Amos Connect which worked well. The last time we got a new SIM we started using Skyfile which also works well although it seems that the handshaking before starting to download e-mails might be a little longer. Also Skyfile requires that you use it's webmail service to access e-mails when you have a WIFI connection where with Amos Connect you could use the same client to access e-mails over WIFI.

Our last batch of 500 min cost us $750 or so with a year to use them. You can also buy extra minutes with no additional coverage time or additional coverage time with no additional minutes. Lastly, renewing the SIM before the end of the coverage period rolls your unused minutes over.
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Old 14-08-2013, 12:41   #11
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Re: Satellite phone provider

Thank you for all your input!!
This should make our SIM shopping much easier (and hopefully cheaper).
We are not based in the US but will have a stop over in Florida before heading off to the Caribbean's.
Galacticair - By "US based" did you mean citizens or just happening to be in the US?

I used AmosConnect on a boat I was skippering and was very happy with the way it worked. It was on a Windows based laptop and now I have a Mac.
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Old 14-08-2013, 12:45   #12
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Re: Satellite phone provider

I used these guys in Miami. I was very happy.

www.satphonestore.com
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Old 19-08-2013, 14:54   #13
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Re: Satellite phone provider

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Thank you for all your input!!
This should make our SIM shopping much easier (and hopefully cheaper).
We are not based in the US but will have a stop over in Florida before heading off to the Caribbean's.
Galacticair - By "US based" did you mean citizens or just happening to be in the US?

I used AmosConnect on a boat I was skippering and was very happy with the way it worked. It was on a Windows based laptop and now I have a Mac.
By "US based" I meant that satphonestore.com and satellitephonestore.com are US retailers. I'm pretty sure they'd ship internationally, but haven't tried that personally. The Iridium SIM cards are typically global, and in fact we bought ours in the US but used it in Europe/Asia, and later recharged it from overseas by emailing the same US vendor -- so I imagine you could buy directly from outside the US...

Having a Mac limits the software you can use - most marine software (nav, weather, satellite email) seems to be PC based. I haven't checked all the email software, but UUPlus says it works with Macs, and I believe Skyfile only works with PCs (although somewhat unclear - you could certainly try).
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Old 19-08-2013, 17:01   #14
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Just be aware that there are different geographic sims for iridium for different promotions. Make sure any sim ordered is international

PS while you can use email compressors etc. you don't have to . I quite happily connected directly to my own email server.

Dave
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Old 17-09-2013, 11:55   #15
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Re: Satellite phone provider

If anyone has any further questions regarding satellite providers/services I would be more than happy to answer them!
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