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Old 11 Sep 2007
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Satellite Phones - Is it worth taking one ?

Just finished a first aid and survival course and the question of satellite phones came up.
In addition to a 5 month return trip from the UK to Ghana, we plan to travel extensively over the next few years and are wondering whether it is worth the investment?
Your thoughts and comment greatly appreciated .... as always

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Old 12 Sep 2007
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Satellite phone

Originally Posted by ianrichards121 View Post
Just finished a first aid and survival course and the question of satellite phones came up.
In addition to a 5 month return trip from the UK to Ghana, we plan to travel extensively over the next few years and are wondering whether it is worth the investment?
Your thoughts and comment greatly appreciated .... as always


Hiya, I have travelled all over West Africa and it was rare that I could not get a signal on a normal mobile phone (triband). Just ask your provider to enable it for international travel and it will be fine.

I have had no problems in Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia and Ghana.


I came, I saw. I ran for it.
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Old 12 Sep 2007
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We took one

Hi, not essential; people get by without.
It also depends what you leave back home.
About halfway through our trip the tenant renting my flat stopped paying. French law is very protective of a55holes like him, so it was essential to get the legal process moving asap. At first we tried to use teleboutiques (public phone "shops") but it worked out cheaper to use the Iridium Africa prepaid plan, and you could call from virtually anywhere.
Our Iridium phone (Motorola 9505) had a habit of dropping the call every 10 minutes, something to do with handover between satellites, but on balance, very glad to have taken it (thanks dad!)

Emergencies during the trip? Who ya gonna call? I called my Iveco dealer to DHL a rare suspension bush out when I opened the one I'd bought in advance and discovered it was wrongly packaged (right box, wrong part)
Better to call when you've solved the problem to reassure worried family back home.

Christmas and birthday calls were a nice comfort too!

Just warn those to whom you give the number; calling a satphone is a HELL of a lot more expensive than calling from a satphone. We got them to text the phone (free through Iridium website) and then we'd call back.

You're the judge, I've simply shared my experience.


(it took 18months to get the SOB out)
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Old 12 Sep 2007
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If you are staying north and don't go far south as Zambia/Zim and so on, get the Thuriya phone. Way better and it does not drop you ever.
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Old 12 Sep 2007
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Another round for this evergreen:

Hi, not essential; people get by without
And so they do without 95 percent of technology we in the West take for granted. When you travel in Africa that becomes glaringly obvious (excluding AK47, of course:-)

For lifesaving situations your first aid and survival course will be of more value, but I wouldn't dismiss a sat phone altogether. Prepaid airtime doesn't cost a fortune and there are used handsets at ebay at cut down prices.

Local networks are not examples of reliability and when they are down, it could be for many days. So, if you can afford it, it won't take up a lot of space.
Roman (UK)
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