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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Satellite Communication Permits in Russia??

Just been reading the Winter 2011 issue of the Overland Journal.

It mentions 'Russia in particular is serious about satellite communication permits'.

Is this true??

I am planning to take an Iridium sat phone and a BGAN terminal.

If so where would I find one?


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Old 6 Feb 2012
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I can't help on that one, BUT..

There are 'normal' mobile networks all across Russia. Every town and village has at least one network. It was part of the granting of operators licences that coverage be provided at practically every town or village.

You 'home' SIM will pick up every available network or you can buy a RUS 'pay as you go' SIM, but it will be only for one network. Both probably considerably cheaper options than satellite phoning but effectively almost as useful.

On all of Russian SibirskyExtreme, although not constantly phone watching, I was aware of only one smallish town where we could not get any signal - but that may have been a temporary local breakdown.
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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+1 on Tony's reply - we bought a cheap pay as you go phone in Vladivostok with 150 minutes of national (ie ALL Russia) calls and that was enough for us - total cost around £30 if I remember right. The SIM will only last as long as your visa though.
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by strimstrum View Post
The SIM will only last as long as your visa though.
And ensure it is enabled for Roaming, even for use within Russia. This facility is free but must be ordered, even if from countrywide network providers.

Additional Roaming charges will apply for calls made, the further you travel across Russia from the SIM's base the greater. But it is not a lot of money.

If one is a prolific phone user it may be cheaper to ditch a (for example) Vladivostock SIM and get a more western orientated SIM as one progresses west.
I don't keep count but I notice my regular Moscow SIM needs topping up with money more frequently the further away I travel within RUS.
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Cell phone cover in Russia is certainly not ubiquitous, particularly way out in the regions, but I think most people would be surprised how much coverage there is.

I broke down near Baikal in the middle of nowhere and picked up a signal on my Blackberry (but not my iPhone); at the very least you might want to invest in a phone with a sensitive antenna.

On the Road of Bones last summer every desolate settlement had cell phone coverage AND wireless internet (although usually quite slow), so you might want to pick up a wireless internet modem/SIM as well. Wireless internet access really saved me after I broke down near Baikal, I was able to read some posts on ADVRider that enabled me to diagnose and fix the problem, it was very cool.
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by Landroverholic View Post
I am planning to take an Iridium sat phone and a BGAN terminal.

Why an Iridium AND a BGAN?
If Internet access isn't important, just take an Iridium. But if Internet is important, take the BGAN and save $$ by not buying the Iridium and paying the subscription.
I found in 16 months of travelling in Australia that the BGAN was perfectly satisfactory for both telephony and Internet (except for a mere 32kb/sec).

Unimog U500 w/Unicat
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Old 6 Feb 2012
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Thanks everybody for the very useful info.

I already have a sat phone so I guess it just seems sensible to bring it along.

As for the BGAN I reckon I'll forget about that idea and just use internet cafes along the way to update blog and download photos etc.

I have an external mobile phone ariel on the car already so that shouldn,t cause any problems at the border ??

Thanks again everybody. You are an invaluable source of info.


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Old 8 Feb 2012
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Taken iridium two times not problems at all
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