MailASail is a corporate sponsor of a number sailing events such as the ARC event and our main selling point is the backup and support that we offer to customers once you have actually purchased the equipment. For example I go down to the start line at Las Palmas each year (at my own cost) to ensure that none of our customers has any last minute problems
We also offer an extremely fast email compression system which will typically allow you to send/recv around 20+ emails per minute over the Iridium satellite phone (this is excellent when you consider the speed of the iridium phone), and this makes using the satellite phone very easy and very inexpensive. The system also works over any other internet connection and is great for reducing your costs when using a mobile (cell) phone as well!
Main Hardware to consider
We try to always sell customers a complete package of *everything* that they will need so that you don't have to go hunt down extra bits later. The following are the main offers that you might want to consider:
- Iridium 9555 phone (NEW!)
- Iridium 9522-P fixed install Iridium 9522-P phone
- 9522-TP phone (as above) + GPS tracking system
- Inmarsat Fleet Broadband
The Iridium 9555 portable phone is very popular because it's "fairly cheap", and the basic sat phone unit is very robust. However, it's very similar to a GPS unit in that it only works well outside with a clear view of the sky - inside the cabin you either need to hold the phone out of the window when using it, or move up on deck. For this reason the external antenna is a "highly recommended" option - but clearly it adds quite a bit to the price.
Add an antenna and look to the Iridium 9522 fixed phones
Our recommendation is that if your budget will run to the external antenna that you look instead at packages 2) and 3), the fixed install phones. Once you put the external antenna onto the portable phone it becomes quite unwieldy and harder to use - you also end up with quite a lot of wires sticking out of the unit (thick antenna out of the top, power out of the left, computer out of the bottom and then usually handsfree kit out of the right).
The fixed install unit is much more robust and allows you to hide away all the messy wires and just leave the rather nice handset on display
The Iridium 9522-TP unit looks physically the same as the standard 9522-P fixed install phone, but it also has a GPS unit built in. You don't use this as a ships GPS, but instead it allows you to remotely "ping" the unit and locate it. This is invaluable if you are leaving the boat for long periods that you can be sure it's still where you left it. Also for the ARC it means that we can perform your position reporting requirements for you. Basically you can see where your boat is at any time on a high resolution map of the world and you can also give access to this information to your friends and family.
Of course MailASail also offers discounted and flexible airtime plans for all satellite phones and we also have some special ARC discounted prices for the larger topups (see your Skipper packs or email for latest rates)
Inmarsat Fleet Broadband 250/150 - Business Users needing more Bandwidth
Iridium is capable of offering speeds of up to 10-20 text emails per minute and fairly small attachments. However, it runs out of capacity if you need the ability to surf the internet or send large attachments such as excel spreadsheets
This is where the Inmarsat Fleet Broad FB250/FB150 excels. The hardware cost is significantly higher than the Iridium (approx 2-3x the cost), however, the speeds are over 100x faster and the data priced around 1/6th the price!
The Inmarsat FB250 is very similar in performance to a 3G mobile phone, but with global coverage. The Inmarsat FB150 is a little slower than the FB250, but with a commensurate price drop.