For Aus I'd recommend getting an Inmarsat Isatphone pro. The Inmarsat network is better for lower lattitudes, as they have geostationary sattelites (equatorial orbits). Once you have a good signal it won't drop out, because you'll be using the same sattelite for the entire call.
Contact AST Australia
. AST Australia: Satellite Communications Solutions
The guys there are extremely helpful. Also you can get a government
rebate of 50% of the cost of the phone if you're going to be out of mobile or landline telephone areas within Australia
for 180 days in the next 2 years. It's a simple form to fill out, and we had approval in under 2 hours.
The Isatphone pro is only around $750 to buy, - $375 after the rebate!
You can download the Onsatmail program to your laptop
, then subscribe to free grib file downloads. Just takes a little setting up to get the laptop
to use the satphone as it's modem. View the gribs either on UGrib, or Open CPN
- again free download programs. Onsatmail also does e-mail, but you can send text messages reasonably cheaply from the phone, (50c) and using the AST Aus website, other people can text you free. The guys at AST can e-mail you step-by-step instructions on how to set it up, although I didn't find the GRIB viewer they suggested to be as good as UGrib or Open CPN
We buy pre-paid time, obviously the bigger the plan the cheaper per minute, but they're generally somewhere around $1.00 per minute. I was downloading grib files one at a time, was finding it always seemed to take about 1:05 minutes to get a grib file, and billing is per 30 second block. SO I started subscribing to 2 gribs, and was getting them in under 1:30, so the same cost.
Hope this helps!