October 31, 2014

Sat Phone Use and Plan Auto-Renewal

We use our Satellite Phone for voice and SMS [free incoming...] as well as email through the very efficient UUplus eMail service for the bandwidth challenged. [We can also use UUplus with our HF radio and Pactor modem.]

Most of these methods of communications use Sat Phone minutes, or in the case of Iridium, 20 second increments of time. Therefore keeping track of time used [costs] is important to us.

You can test your Iridium Sat phone by calling [no charge] 1-480-752-5105. If your phone is working, you will hear a call completion confirmation message.

If you call or text 2888 [FREE] from your Iridium phone you get the following response in kind:
On: 2014-11-01 02:32:04 [-8], [Iridium replied via SMS:]

You have 112 minutes. Your account will expire on Nov 07, 2014. [i.e., This is the plan renewal date: unused minutes roll forward if you keep renewing this plan.] This account has no minutes expiring between now and May 01, 2015. [New from Iridium is roll-forward minutes can only age 3 years... No problemo...]
For now we use a special pre-paid plan that offers reduced rates in return for only allowing our phone to receive calls while in Alaska and Canada [We can call anywhere...] Like cell phone voice plans of old, our unused minutes roll forward. Therefore we set up auto-renewal with our vendor when we first activated our current plan in May-2014. (And of course, so we can continue to use the phone... Duh.)

Since then some wonderful friends surprised us by paying for several auto-renewals!

Wow. What did we do to deserve such fantastic friends who are simultaneously selflessly generous and gluttons for punishment? [Be careful what you ask for (or enable...)]

We will adjust sat phone plans as our needs change, and we will keep a close eye on new satellite communications technology like the Iridium Go. [Of course, such hotspot devices will be far more useful once Iridium upgrades their satellites so data is faster than the current speed of 2.4kbps...]

Why Iridium? For now they offer the best high-latitude coverage of the sat phone carriers.

For more details see our Satellite Communications page.

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