Satellite phone service boasts down to earth prices

A study by satellite telephone provider Inmarsat has revealed that its call charges are not as sky high as some of its cellular rivals. The report highlights the cost savings of using satellite services for making international calls over roaming GSM and hotel telephones.

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By  James Thornton Published  February 15, 2001

Satellite phone services are often a cheaper way of keeping in touch, according to a new study by Inmarsat.

The UK-based satellite firm claim that international voice and data calls via satellite can undercut those made from their cellular rivals, and from fixed hotel lines.

Any example given by Inmarsat was that a call to the UK from the UAE on a hotel phone costs US$5.66, and $3.98 from Bahrain. However, a call of the same nature via the Inmarsat Mini-M service adds up to only $2.25.

The survey, which was conducted by Teligen on behalf of Inmarsat, also revealed that in certain instances the satellite service was cheaper than roaming GSM offerings. While a minute-long call to the UK via Mini-M costs an average of $2.25, using Cellnet or Vodafone would cost the caller $2.48 or $3.18 respectively.

Not surprisingly, Inmarsat is upbeat about these findings. “The survey shows that voice calls via satellite are often far more effective than cellular roaming or the hotel telephone,” said Michael Butler, managing director, Inmarsat.

“The speed and reliability of the Mini-M and Global Area Network (GAN) provide a cost-effective solution for multinationals which require global mobile communications.”

“The survey shows that in remote areas where there is no robust GSM network, the Mini-M is a cost effective and reliable communication system,” said Mohammed El Amin, regional director, Inmarsat. “International businesses can expect the price in many cases to be less than the alternative options available.”

Inmarsat’s GAN can transmit data at up to 64 kbit/s at an average price of $6 per minute. According to Inmarsat GAN promises to “reliably and consistently” offer real-time data, e-commerce and Internet services from virtually any corner of the planet.

“Businesses and business users see the need to share information quickly and cost effectively from wherever their business needs to operate not just in the metropolitan areas which GSM services traditionally service,” said Steve Rogers, director of marketing communications, Inmarsat. “Today’s businesses require faster decision-making and more efficient problem solving which can only happen with the right information on hand.”

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