Equipment: Iridium 9555
When: June 2013
Where: near Vernon, BC, Canada
Driving the wrong way along the shores of the Shushwap, a call comes in on my call phone and quickly ends with only 1 signal bar. I pull out the Iridium 9555 with an auxiliary antenna, place the antenna on the sunroof cover and proceed to dial. I did have some initial trouble connecting as we were driving in the mountains, but when the call did connect on the third try, I was able to complete a six minute conversation without any problems. While the voice quality wasn�t great, the Iridium worked cellular failed.
When: January 2013
Where: 7 Mile Beach, Georgetown, Cayman Islands
As I got off the plane in sunny Georgetown, a text message on my cellular informed me that voice calls are now charged at over $2/ minute and data at over $12/mb. Great reason to turn off the cellular and try the satellite phones.
Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro � made the initial call, had a clear, though echo-ey conversation. Phone worked great, and compared to the other test calls, was the best satellite phone in the area. After 1 more call, the battery died, and as I had no spare, testing had to end. Battery failure is fairly common with the IsatPhone Pro, so make sure you keep a spare.
Globalstar GSP-1700 � excited to try out this phone and its unlimited use in the Caribbean, however, after about 10 minutes of failing to register with the network, I got bored and gave up.
Iridium 9555 � This phone was quick to connect and was able to complete 3 test calls without any problems. The quality was a little choppy and 1 call was terminated early, this phone is still very suitable in the area.
Iridium 9575 Extreme � the phone worked, every time. The test calls all went through fine, again, the quality not the clearest due to the moving satellites, the Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone was the one I ended up using for the remainder of the trip.
When: June 2012
Where: Conakry, Guinea, West Africa
Inmarsat Wins! While in suburban Conakry, I found it necessary to call back to the office in Canada regularly. With many 2 storey houses surrounding me and no open areas for miles, the Iridium 9555 just didn�t work in the narrow lanes between the houses, and when a connection was made, it quickly terminated as the satellite went over the surrounding buildings. With the Inmarsat Isatphone Pro, I was able to find several spots on the property where signal was strong and clear, as I was right below the Inmarsat satellite. Anywhere in Western Africa, the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro is a very suitable phone for the region.
PS. We now have customer with 12 Iridium 9555 satellite phones in Guinea, all working fine, and were chosen after the Thuraya XT suffered a network outage which lasted for over 48 hours.