4. Iridium and Inmarsat Airtime Options

Iridium and Inmarsat Airtime Options

Previously we took a look at the Iridium and Inmarsat phones and next we’ll take a look at the airtime options for each of them.


Satellite Phone Airtime

The airtime options for satellite phones are similar to the cellular industry, in that there are prepaid/PAYG and pay-monthly/contract options on each. On prepaid there of various voucher denominations that each comes with a predefined validity (or expiry) window, while on pay-monthly there are various contracts with a monthly spend and usage allowance

It is worth noting that the airtime vouchers made available to the market or are generally defined by the satellite networks, and service provider such as Ashbury SatCom have relatively little influence over what they are. However Ashbury do publish some special promotional vouchers from time to time – especially for those that are buying a new phone with prepaid airtime.


Pre-Paid Airtime Services

If you’re one of those people buying a satellite phone only for occasional use such as an annual trip into the wild, or maybe the odd project in the middle of nowhere – then prepaid will likely be the more cost effective option for you. However Ashbury also offers prepaid vouchers with extended validity that are cost effective for users who need their phones to be active and ready for use all year round.

The prepaid service from Ashbury comes with both low balance alerts and expiry alerts being sent to our customers via email, and you or anyone you know can easily top-up your airtime on our website. As a general rule of thumb, your airtime balance is usually always carried forward when doing recharges, so long as those recharges are done before the expiry of your existing airtime.

New users who prefer their satellite phone on prepaid can find discounted hardware and prepaid airtime bundles in our web shop.


Inmarsat Phones Prepaid Vouchers

Depending on which company or service provider you buy your SIM card from, prepaid airtime vouchers for Inmarsat satellite phones may be expressed in either units or minutes.  Where they are expressed in units the formula to convert them to minutes is to simply divide them by 1.5, while an SMS text message consumes 0.6 units of airtime.

The prepaid vouchers for the Inmarsat iSatPhone handheld phones come in denominations such as 50 units valid for 1 month, 100 units valid for 3 months, or 500 units valid for 12 months as defined by the satellite network operators. Ashbury SatCom offers a 100 unit voucher with 12 months of validity as well.

Inmarsat iSatPhone Airtime Vouchers
Inmarsat iSatPhone Airtime Vouchers

Iridium Phones Prepaid Vouchers

The prepaid airtime vouchers for Iridium handheld phones come in denominations of 50 minutes valid for 1 month, 75 minutes valid for 2 months, 100 minutes valid for 3 months, and 300 minutes valid for 12 months as defined by the satellite network operators.

An area where Iridium prepaid vouchers stand out in terms of airtime costs (relative to other satellite networks) is the costs of text messages. As a general rule of thumb text messages on an Inmarsat phone consumes 20 seconds worth of talk time, whereas on an Iridium phone a text message only consumes 6 seconds worth of talk time.

Iridium Airtime Vouchers
Iridium Airtime Vouchers

Contract Airtime Subscriptions

For those users who don’t want to have to worry about prepaid vouchers expiring – or having to top up a prepaid SIM card periodically, Ashbury SatCom offers easy online pay-monthly service plans. 

Users who prefer a pay-monthly subscription can simply buy their satellite phone together with a subscription from the relevant section in our web shop, and then we automatically bill your card for the subscription on a monthly basis.

As a rule of thumb however, in the satellite phones industry prepaid is generally more cost effective than contract subscriptions.

Next Up…

Next we’ll take a look at satellite Wi-Fi HotSpots and Mobile Satellite Internet.