Satellite phone questions

Wiley64

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Headed to eastern cape soon, going through my last few items that need attention for this trip. I landed an iridium sat phone, has no service to it and is 4 updates out of date on its firmware, talked to satmodo and they asked me to overnight the phone and they’d send it back to me ready to go for $250 with 100 minutes for my trip. Seemed like a good deal, just wanted to double check if any one had any bad experience with satmodo, as I am about to overnight a $1,300 phone
 
It’s really just for in the field, it’s total overkill for this- just would like to have it
 
You don't need it. If there is an emergency, the PH will have a radio or phone to call in for help. Use the money towards another animal. I used What’s app to stay in touch with my wife and parents.
 
We use a sat phone for marine applications. There is no need for it as others have said. Furthermore, have you checked to make sure it's in the satellite coverage area? You could possibly need to buy a separate plan for coverage there. We use GlobalStar and it's a completely separate plan for the southern hemisphere.

I had 3G/4G in most of RSA when I went. Lodge had wifi which if you have an iphone you can iMessage, text, and wifi call. WhatsApp as others mentioned is always free to use and works great.
 
Thanks guys this is helpful, I’ll leave it behind, my dad will have a sat phone and a spot as well
 
The only place in Africa that I have needed my Sat Phone was the Zambezi Delta of Mozambique.
 
It’s really just for in the field, it’s total overkill for this- just would like to have it

Fair enough. Can’t help with the company reputation. Hope someone can.
 
Not sure you need a sat phone in South Africa. If u Have any kind of smart phone have anyone u need to communicate to download what’s app and just use the Wi-Fi at the lodge. That’s what we do.
You can only text on what’s app. My wife wants to hear my voice so I bought a sat phone and but 100 minutes when I go. Also given my job I want people to hear me not just text when I need Four trips and phone is paid for versus renting one I got such a great deal on one. Good luck
 
I used to use a SAT phone on all my trips to Africa, before that a GCS 1000 satellite email device. Now even in the poorest of Malawi I have excellent service, I have even facetimed my kids while in Safari in the Serengetti. Odly enough my phone and wifi does not work in Namibia at all ,,, which is odd as advanced as Namibia is. I use ATT international
 
You can only text on what’s app. My wife wants to hear my voice so I bought a sat phone and but 100 minutes when I go. Also given my job I want people to hear me not just text when I need Four trips and phone is paid for versus renting one I got such a great deal on one. Good luck
I use Whatsapp for "phone calls" all the time with a SA PH. It might even have Facetime.
 
You can only text on what’s app. My wife wants to hear my voice so I bought a sat phone and but 100 minutes when I go. Also given my job I want people to hear me not just text when I need Four trips and phone is paid for versus renting one I got such a great deal on one. Good luck

I agree with @buck wild, I use WhatsApp for texting, picture and video exchanging with the home front and the PH, location sharing, sending voice messages and doing phone calls, with or without good quality video…

To my experience most PH’s and people in general in Africa are only reachable via WhatsApp anyway.

To the OP, in SA you should have 4G almost anywhere. In the wilder places of Africa, unless you see a need to be reachable during the hunting hours, while tracking and stalking, there is no real need for a sat phone, as most camps will have WiFi. I see a need for a sat phone only if you truly go away from civilisation. There are such places still in Africa, but not in SA I believe.
 
Let me throw in my two cents. I was in Limpopo in 2019. the dining room where we would have dinner caught on fire and burned up the Wifi System. We all got Covid and there were riots ,burning trucks on the highway because the EX-President of S. Africa was being sentenced to prison for embellishment. WhatsApp on my cell would not work nor would my cell phone. I swore I would never leave the USA without a Satellite Phone.
By the way it was my first trip to Africa and would not trade the experience or adventure for a million dollars.
In fact out to Nimibia June 13 2023 (WITH MY SATELLITE PHONE)
Into todays times the minutes are cheap if you have a plan. I can turn the phone off when not traveling and cost me $5.00 a month to keep my number and stay inactive.
 
Let me throw in my two cents. I was in Limpopo in 2019. the dining room where we would have dinner caught on fire and burned up the Wifi System. We all got Covid and there were riots ,burning trucks on the highway because the EX-President of S. Africa was being sentenced to prison for embellishment. WhatsApp on my cell would not work nor would my cell phone. I swore I would never leave the USA without a Satellite Phone.
By the way it was my first trip to Africa and would not trade the experience or adventure for a million dollars.
In fact out to Nimibia June 13 2023 (WITH MY SATELLITE PHONE)
Into todays times the minutes are cheap if you have a plan. I can turn the phone off when not traveling and cost me $5.00 a month to keep my number and stay inactive.
Sounds like YOU are bad luck Manny ! :LOL:
Note to self- if traveling with, OR anywhere around Manny, get a Sat phone.
 
You can only text on what’s app. My wife wants to hear my voice so I bought a sat phone and but 100 minutes when I go. Also given my job I want people to hear me not just text when I need Four trips and phone is paid for versus renting one I got such a great deal on one. Good luck
Not true (re WhatsApp will only text). The WhatsApp "app" downloadable on any smart phone, provides voice call, video calls, and transmission of texts, photos, and videos. Both phones must have the app. It's free, and easy to download, and easy to use. Both phones must have a connection to the internet for it to work. Either via WIFI signal wherever that may be obtained or using the cellular service provider's data plan. Nearly EVERYBODY in Africa uses WhatsApp, as it their service providers usually price "data", cheaper than airtime for calls. I spend a lot of time in various countries in Africa and do not purchase roaming from my home service provider, but I do purchase a local service provider's SIM card (costs a buck or two) and a cheap data bundle. You can usually do this right at the airport upon arrival in the country and will usually take no more than 5-10 minutes. Then I can communicate with anyone in the world for pennies using WhatsApp (again either through WIFI, or a low cost local service provider's data plan - no contract or recurring fees . . . $10 will buy enough data to usually last me three weeks ). From my own experience both in Africa and the USA, much of Africa - even fairly remote places actually have better cellular coverage than the USA. Heck there are many areas here in Wyoming and neighboring states that have zero network. I should note that WhatsApp is part of the same company that operates Facebook. So I also use "Signal" which is not commercially linked to Facebook, is end-to-end encrypted, and does everything WhatsApp does as described above. Signal would be my preference, but many Africa based contacts don't have the app so when communicating with them I use whichever app that they have.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy or not buy SAT phone service, but just to point out there are other options.
 
Sounds like YOU are bad luck Manny ! :LOL:
Note to self- if traveling with, OR anywhere around Manny, get a Sat phone.
Let me throw in my two cents. I was in Limpopo in 2019. the dining room where we would have dinner caught on fire and burned up the Wifi System. We all got Covid and there were riots ,burning trucks on the highway because the EX-President of S. Africa was being sentenced to prison for embellishment. WhatsApp on my cell would not work nor would my cell phone. I swore I would never leave the USA without a Satellite Phone.
By the way it was my first trip to Africa and would not trade the experience or adventure for a million dollars.
In fact out to Nimibia June 13 2023 (WITH MY SATELLITE PHONE)
Into todays times the minutes are cheap if you have a plan. I can turn the phone off when not traveling and cost me $5.00 a month to keep my number and stay inactive.
this is absolute gold my friend. Thank you for sharing
 
Not true (re WhatsApp will only text). The WhatsApp "app" downloadable on any smart phone, provides voice call, video calls, and transmission of texts, photos, and videos. Both phones must have the app. It's free, and easy to download, and easy to use. Both phones must have a connection to the internet for it to work. Either via WIFI signal wherever that may be obtained or using the cellular service provider's data plan. Nearly EVERYBODY in Africa uses WhatsApp, as it their service providers usually price "data", cheaper than airtime for calls. I spend a lot of time in various countries in Africa and do not purchase roaming from my home service provider, but I do purchase a local service provider's SIM card (costs a buck or two) and a cheap data bundle. You can usually do this right at the airport upon arrival in the country and will usually take no more than 5-10 minutes. Then I can communicate with anyone in the world for pennies using WhatsApp (again either through WIFI, or a low cost local service provider's data plan - no contract or recurring fees . . . $10 will buy enough data to usually last me three weeks ). From my own experience both in Africa and the USA, much of Africa - even fairly remote places actually have better cellular coverage than the USA. Heck there are many areas here in Wyoming and neighboring states that have zero network. I should note that WhatsApp is part of the same company that operates Facebook. So I also use "Signal" which is not commercially linked to Facebook, is end-to-end encrypted, and does everything WhatsApp does as described above. Signal would be my preference, but many Africa based contacts don't have the app so when communicating with them I use whichever app that they have.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy or not buy SAT phone service, but just to point out there are other options.
I just don’t want any hassle at all. With my sat phone my business team and family can easily talk as if we were next door. I just know anywhere on the hunting are my sat phone always to people who need me
 
I used my cell phone from the time I landed in jberg to port Elizabeth to cape town with no problems. When I was at the lodge I jested used Wi-Fi and what’s up app. I did turn off my cell phone data points in my phone so I wouldn't be charged for roaming charges while away.

but to answer your questions about the cell provider I have had clients use them. Just make sure you pay the insurance and tracking information both ways
 

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