Iridium Certus is new phone and internet service in New Zealand which is going to be available from March 2019. Iridium Certus has been made possible by the US$3 billion Iridium NEXT satellite constellation launched by Elon Musk’s Space X where total of 75 new satellites have been deployed over less than two years.
According to its official website Iridium CertusSM is an advanced multi-service platform enabled by the upgraded Iridium constellation. Extending the reach of terrestrial and cellular infrastructure like never before, Iridium Certus redefines the capabilities of mobile satellite communications across maritime, IoT, aviation, land mobile, and government applications. With a portfolio of ever-expanding voice and data services, Iridium Certus allows enterprises, governments, and individuals to connect with greater value and greater reach than any other mobile wireless network. Iridium Certus is ideal for supporting critical connectivity needs regardless of location, terrain, and weather events – all in a single platform.
Pivotel will sell access to Certus for Kiwis and Aussies
Pivotel will sell access to Certus for Kiwis and Aussies, though the pricing is out-of-this-world and its bandwidth is closer to dial-up speed than fibre. Phone plans will cost from $130 per month. Broadband will also cost from $130 per month, but with the base price including a measly 10 megabytes of data.
According to a recent Commerce Commission report said the average NZ household uses more than 160 gigabytes of data per month or 160,000 megabytes). Extra data on Certus costs $1 per megabyte. At launch, Certus will offer 352 kilobits per second. That’s expected to be upgraded to 702kbps later this year. In 2020, there should be another speed 1.4 megabits per second and for contrast, most dial-up copper line internet connections get around 10 megabits per second; UFB fibre connections are typically ten times as fast or more.
A terminal to receive the satellite signal costs $2875 but can be thrown in free if you’re a larger volume customer. Satellite phones cost in the region of $2300 to $2500 each.
According to Pivotel “The new terminals and services while they might not be cheap to the everyday consumer, are very well priced for agencies and organisations”. You can expect the biggest take-up of the Iridium service to occur with emergency responders, government agencies, private and government utilities and maritime.
The internet of things (IoT) – or machines talking to machines over the internet – is another key market – especially for the likes of moisture sensors in remote rural areas. IoT gadgets typically need only a small amount of bandwidth.
Certus users will get an Australian 04 mobile number and be able to make calls for around 60 cents per minute, which Piovotel says is a tenth of the usual satellite phone calling rate.
Satellite service alternatives for Kiwis include Farmside, which delivers service predominantly though the Optus satellite. Vodafone NZ took a controlling stake in Farmside in 2017 and bought it outright in May last year.
Pivotel Iridium Satellite Plans
Pivotel Iridium Satellite plans use the Iridium Mobile Satellite Network. Satellite reception limitations and some exclusion zones apply. All calls are charged in 1 minute increments unless otherwise stated. Prices include NZ GST and are subject to change. Included call value excludes premium calls, calls to special numbers, IDD (international direct dial) calls and premium text of 24 month minimum term.
Visit www.pivotel.co.nz/iridium_nz_coverage for a coverage map.
A compatible Iridium Satellite device is required to access the Pivotel Iridium Satellite service (see handset pricing). Pivotel may apply call barring where fraudulent use is suspected or for credit control purposes. You will receive a bill by email from Pivotel listing any payments you have made during the billing period, and a summary of your service usage to enable you to keep track of your overall service usage and monthly spend. An itemised bill listing all of your service usage events is available on request. You may elect to receive a paper bill by post for an additional fee.
Pivotel plans are available to credit approved customers only. Minimum cost over 24 months is NZ$1,440 on Pivot 60 NZD, NZ$1,800 on Pivot 75 NZD, NZ$2,160 on Pivot 90 NZD, NZ$3,360 on Pivot 140 NZD and NZ$2,280 per service on Group 95 NZD (a minimum of 3 services is required for this plan). You may receive a pro-rata access fee charge on your first Pivotel bill, calculated from the actual date of service connection to the date of your first bill. You may choose to waive the minimum term by paying a NZD$60 fee at the time the service is connected.
To make a standard national call you must enter the country code, area code and number – for example to call a fixed line number 09 xxxxxxx in Auckland dial +649xxxxxxx. To dial a standard national mobile number 02x xxx xxxx dial +642xxxxxxxx. To dial an Australian mobile number 04xx xxx xxx, dial +614xxxxxxxx.
To make an international call simply enter the number in the format + <country code> <area code> <phone number>. Remember, if the area code has a leading 0 then you must omit that when you enter the number – for example to call the number 02 xxxx xxxx in NSW, Australia dial +61 2 xxxx xxxx or to dial 415 xxx xxxx in California, USA dial +1415xxxxxxx.
The Iridium network has full global coverage allowing you to use your phone across the globe, on land or at sea. Your Iridium phone will operate at the standard rates within New Zealand/Australian territory, and at international call rates outside of New Zealand/Australian territory.