Tag Archives: Satellite Phones

“There is no such thing as luck”

Star Wars fans know this quote.

Non Star Wars fans: Obi-Wan Kenobi says this to Hans Solo after Luke uses his light saber to block the sparring orb’s shots while wearing a helmet with the blast shield down. The quote is actually prefaced with, ‘In my experience…’ That adds a different dimension. There may be luck, but in Obi-Wan’s experience there isn’t.  

Contrast that idea with Samuel Goldwyn’s famous quote, ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I don’t want to disagree with one of the most successful movie studio executives ever but, it is not luck, it is preparation, determination, perspiration, manifestation, serendipity, call it what you will. Or maybe we do agree.  All of those things are hard work.  But luck? Sorry, not for Obi-Wan, and not for me.

Was Malcolm Butler’s interception that sealed the Patriot’s Super Bowl win luck? Or was it preparation, training, reflexes, skill, ‘wanting it more’, as we used to say when I played? It was all of that and more. In an interview right after, Butler said he had a vision making that play, breaking on the ball and taking it away from the receiver. And guess what: He did. Is that luck? Some might even call it planning. Or grit. Or hustle.  Luck is for leprechauns. 

Much of this holds true for business continuity, disaster and emergency planning and response. Anyone who works in those arenas knows you don’t really get ‘lucky’. You plan, you prepare and you train, acquiring skill sets that you really never want to use. However when you do, you are ready! That is not luck; that is preparation. Which reminds me of this New England phrase:

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

You may not have heard this phrase but I assure you that if you are in the emergency preparedness/planning/response profession, you abide this phrase all the time. And SatCom is critical in helping you be effective, helping you provide excellent performance.

Satellite phones are a tool that you use when you need to, and having them available, ready to go, tested and staff trained is one of the best ways to be ‘lucky’ (according to Goldwyn). I would instead say that you are prepared, which is highly commendable and please invite everyone you meet in the industry to join you in this kind of preparation. Luck may not show up when crisis hits and you are called into action. Preparation and practice and panning will ALL show up. 

Obi-Wan would agree. Make sure you have a plan and that plan includes satellite phones.

Thanks for reading.

The Top 10 Reasons to Own Iridium Satellite Phones

10)  Global coverage:  There simply is no other satellite phone that offers coverage over every square foot of our big blue planet.  Iridium works everywhere!

9) Network reliability: At any time there always one, usually two, and frequently three satellites overhead.  That means that no matter where you are, odds are you will pick up the network and get calling pronto.

8) Many options:  Iridium has a couple of handheld phones to choose form as well as Vale-Added partners that build fixed phones, docking stations, specialty products – all kinds of solutions for whatever you need.

7) A full kit: When you buy an Iridium phone, it comes with a wall charger with international plugs, a car charger, phone case, mag-mount antenna, antenna adapter, hands free and a User Guide.  It is the most complete handheld phone kit available

6) Tough guy, eh?  The Iridium 9575 phone is the first mil-spec phone built to take the harshest abuse.  It is designed to withstand shock, water and dust.  My teenagers cannot break it.

5) Built-in GPS: Iridium is the only provider that offers GPS tracking capability and an SOS panic button.  Think about the lives put at risk looking for lost hikers (for example), which could easily be found at the press of a button.

4) Value-Added Service Providers: In most cases when you buy an Iridium phone, you’ll receive it in a box and you have to set it up; kind of a pain, but not too bad if you are setting up just one phone.  A nightmare if you are setting up 20, 50, 80 phones.  Providers like GlobaFone of Portsmouth, NH will set up and assemble your phone so you can use it right out of the shipping box.

3) Resources to learn how to use the phone: There are at least a dozen videos that demonstrate how to use your Iridium phone to make and receive calls and voicemail.

2) Pooling airtime: Iridium is the only network under which your Service Provider can create a custom pooled airtime plan.  Many do not, but it is important for you to know it is possible and if your provider doesn’t pool airtime that is a choice they make that costs you more money.

1) Piece of mind: You have an Iridium satellite phone.  You have the most reliable satellite phone with the broadest coverage in the world.

Is the Hill Flattening or Are the Rocks Getting Smaller?

We’ve all heard the adage of ‘pushing the rock up the hill’ and in one of the Blade movies, Wesley Snipes’ character, after beating the bad guy, laments that there is always ‘some joker trying to ice skate uphill’.

Progress takes vision, time and work.  Think about the jumps between the written and printed word, the Bell telephone and cell phones, and the modern house and everything within it.  The technology required to move us along these curves was/is big stuff.

Given the developments of the past few weeks, I see the hill as flattening out – things seem to be coming easier and more rapidly:

Inmarsat (borrowing a page from Sony) is working on the product that will make BGAN obsolete, the way that BGAN made RBGAN obsolete.

Iridium is funded and has obtained a hosted payload client, an integral part of their funding strategy

Globalstar has launched six satellites and has announced new launch dates, moving towards restoring full service

There have been numerous other satellite-related stories that support the evolution of the industry.  There are hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of people working on specific pieces of solving these problems and making progress in dozens of specific areas – financing, research, design, construction, validation, distribution – all through the ecosystem.  

This industry is moving…….and fast.  I’m looking forward to Satellite 2011 to hear about a number of initiatives for the future.  There will be thousands of people pushing rocks and by working together the rocks seem smaller and the hill a little flatter.

Thanks for reading. 

Reading the Tea Leaves

A very Happy New Year to you as we embark on 2011!

 Along my daily commute there is a physic and I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of being able to see into someone’s life just based on a 5 or 10 minute discussion.  The cynic in me says it is all a scam; ‘those’ people are professionals at cold reading and goading you into revealing information that they can then present to support their psychic abilities.  The believer in me thinks that are people who are far more tuned into the spiritual world and can actually ‘see’ events.  There are strong arguments both ways.  Personal relationships and financial affairs are hardly the only areas subject to interpretation.  Look at the markets.  Reading stock charts, company earnings and press releases offer one strong insight into a particular company’s future.  But there is an awful lot ‘TBD’.  Take Globalstar for example:

When they announced that the constellation was damaged, many felt it was a death sentence.  Yet here we are nearly four years later and with new satellites flying and more on the way, they have extended the special promotion for the GSP 1600 (just $500!).  Who would have ‘seen’ this in 2007?

Whether it is Iridium and their NEXT constellation funding, Inmarsat and their Ka-Band next-generation satellites or whether Terrestar will successfully emerge from bankruptcy, reading the tea leaves is little more than informed speculation.  There is a great deal or industry knowledge that must be considered when speculating on what will happen next.  

        Has Globalstar proven innovative in problem solving? (two words – SpoT and SPoT II)
        Will Iridium’s financing package be enough capital – what if the budgets run over?  
        Will there be enough subscribers for Inmarsat’s new service or Terrestar’s service overall?

The world is in a constant state of change and interpretation and speculation are drivers of this industry.  We’ll see some good indicators in March when Satellite 2011 takes over Washington, DC – I’m looking forward to many of the sessions and the knowledge to be gleaned from them.
hi-def quality takers download

Until then, we’ll keep looking at the various businesses and using our best powers of interpretation and speculation.  All over a nice cup of tea.



Showdown! The iSAT vs. the 9555!

Inmarsat launched their first handheld phone the iSAT Phone Pro in July.

The iSAT Phone Pro was/is heralded as the lower cost satellite phone alternative to some of the higher-priced solutions in the marketplace. That’s the polite way of saying ‘We’re going after Iridium.” Competition is great for consumers, creating more choice, however as I wrote in this column shortly after the launch, there is not much of a comparison between these two satellite phones. Both provide satellite service, yes, but this is a peanuts to cashews comparison. The iSAT Phone works on Inmarsat’s GEO constellation and Iridium runs a LEO system. That means if you are on the wrong side of the building, tree-line or mountain, your iSAT Phone simply will not work.

My experience was that the iSAT phone took longer to turn on/register with the network and while the quality of calls were pretty good, I had to stand in one location and point the antenna in the right direction to get the phone to work properly. Not too good for emergency situations where you may not be able to point to the southeast, northwest or wherever the satellite are.

Frost & Sullivan took on the task of running head to head qualitative and quantitative tests of the iSAT Phone Pro and the Iridium 9555 satellite phones. While testing in three locations and under stricter scientific guidelines than my ‘make a few calls in the back parking lot’, the Frost & Sullivan team did test after test to really see how the two devices performed in the field. Their conclusion is that the 9555 is the superior phone. You can download the report from my website www.globafone.com.

I admit the iSAT Phone Pro is a nifty little phone. Will it threaten Iridium’s core business? I doubt it. When Globalstar comes back to full service in June 2011, I see more of a battle there. For now Iridium is pretty safe. I see iSAT as a god option for users near the equator (where the service will be best) or for seasonal use in northern or southern hemispheres. Thanks for reading!

Never A Dull Moment

I frequently use this phrase to describe my life; between GlobaFone, travel, family events, community service and relaxation time, there is….well, you get the idea. The satellite industry is the same.

If you’ve visited the new GlobaFone website, you’ll see/hear in the main page video that ‘there is plenty going on’. How true. Here are a few examples:

IRIDIUM: Now that the financing package has been completed and signed Thales Space is going to ramp up production and build 81 NEXT Iridium satellites. This of course will bring Iridium up to the estimated 2014/2015 launch of NEXT.

GLOBALSTAR: Last Tuesday held a landmark event for the satellite phone provider as the Soyuz rocket carried six satellites in the first of four launches into orbit. The three remaining launches will add 18 more satellites so the new constellation will consist of 32 satellites. Over the next year, there will be a noticeable improvement to coverage and connectivity on Globalstar phones. The simplex data service is working just great, as demonstrated by the strong numbers coming from the SPoT division. And there is now an intrinsically safe SPoT available for workers who need one-way messaging and tracking in a potentially hazardous environment.

INMARSAT: Not to be out-done by the implied rivals to the iSAT Phone, Inmarsat had announced recently the development of a new constellation for some years out. This follows on the completion of the I-4/BGAN launch completed just two years ago. Unfortunately the iSAT Phone has met what I consider to be expected results; it works great near the equator, not too well north or south.

TERRESTAR: Having announced the launch of the Genus phone just weeks ago, they have filed Chapter 11. This must be a record – it Both Globalstar and Iridium took at least a year to get to that point back in 1999/2000. Both have recovered and done well so we’ll see what the future holds for this cell/satellite phone hybrid. Unfortunately the initial reviews of the satellite capability are not too favorable in terms of the time it takes to set up and actually make a satellite call. And with an embedded antenna, one would think pointing in the right direction to the GEO satellite might be a difficult. We’ll see what comes of their move to bankruptcy protection.

Yes, there is never a dull moment in this business. Constant change is the norm and exciting developments continue to shape the industry. As they happen we’ll keep you up to date.

Thanks for reading today.

Free Webinar Reveals the Truth about Satellite Phones!

provide access to voice and data communications from almost any location on the planet. They offer easy operation, dependable service, reasonable rates and a wide range of functionality. Some familiar names are , and .

Unfortunately, there are pervasive myths surrounding that cast them in a negative light. These misperceptions and distortions of the truth may prevent people from making use of these incredibly valuable tools, mistakenly believing satellite phones are not the right solutions that will solve their particular problem.

On this webinar, we will outline seven myths about and then reveal the truth, debunking each myth. You may be surprised by what you learn – that Satellite phones are essential tools that really may make sense for you and your organization.

Please join us for this thought-provoking webinar by clicking one of the times below:

Title: The Truth Revealed! Debunking Satellite Phone Myths

Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2010:

Date: Wednesday, August 4, 2010:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Thanks so much for signing up – we look forward to sharing this exciting information with you.

Globalstar Satellites Arrive!

Good Day,

Two weeks I wrote about some exciting news about ; the first three satellites for the new constellation had been completed and accepted by Globalstar. Now they have been delivered to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan where they will be launched with three other satellites in October. Click to watch the delivery. Thales Alenia Space is under contract to build all 40 new for Globalstar.

This is a substantial step in Globalstar restoring full service to their subscriber base, expected by June 2011. Globalstar offers high-quality voice and data satellite service through their satellite phones and data devices. SPoT, the award-winning satellite personal tracker uses Globalstar’s simplex data service to save lives.

is a Globalstar Star Dealer and we look forward to restoration of service.