What is Iridium Certus Mobile Service in NZ?

Iridium Certus Mobile plans in NZ
Iridium Certus

What is Iridium Certus mobile service? Iridium Certus is a new phone and internet service in New Zealand that 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 a total of 75 new satellites has 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 Mobile plans - Iridium Certus mobile service
Iridium Certus mobile plans

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 fiber. 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 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 of 1.4 megabits per second and for contrast, most dial-up copper line internet connections get around 10 megabits per second; UFB fiber 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 organizations”. 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 through the Optus satellite. Vodafone NZ took a controlling stake in Farmside in 2017 and bought it outright in May last year.

ServiceMonthly CostBandwidthData IncludedAdditional Data CostSpeed at LaunchTerminal Cost
Phone Plan$130Not specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specifiedNot specified
Broadband$130352 kbps (Upgradable to 702 kbps)10 MB$1 per MB for extra data352 kbps$2875 (free for larger volume customers)
IoT ConnectivityNot specifiedLow bandwidth for IoT devicesNot specified$1 per MB for extra data352 kbps$2875 (free for larger volume customers)
Call Rate60 cents per minuteN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Pivotel Iridium Satellite Plans

Pivotel mobile plans
Pivotel mobile plans

Pivotel Iridium Satellite plans to 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 spending. 

An itemized 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. The 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 an NZD$60 fee at the time the service is connected.

Mobile Plans

Pivotel mobile plans in NZ
Pivotel mobile plans
Call TypeFormatExampleDialing Instructions
Standard National Fixed-Line Call+ <country code> <area code> <phone number>+649xxxxxxxDial +649xxxxxxx
Standard National Mobile Call+ <country code> <phone number>+642xxxxxxxxDial +642xxxxxxxx
Australian Mobile Call+ <country code> <phone number>+614xxxxxxxxDial +614xxxxxxxx
International Call (excluding New Zealand/Australian territory)+ <country code> <area code> <phone number>+61 2 xxxx xxxxDial +61 2 xxxx xxxx
International Call (excluding New Zealand/Australian territory)+ <country code> <phone number>+1415xxxxxxxDial +1415xxxxxxx

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 international call rates outside of New Zealand/Australian territory.


Iridium Certus, powered by the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, is a revolutionary mobile satellite communication platform.

Offering unparalleled reach and reliability across diverse sectors such as maritime, IoT, aviation, land mobile, and government applications, Iridium Certus redefines connectivity.

Pivotel, as an authorized provider, introduces Iridium Certus mobile plans for New Zealand and Australia. While the pricing may be higher for everyday consumers, it presents a compelling solution for agencies, organizations, emergency responders, and IoT applications.

With its extensive coverage and upcoming speed enhancements, Iridium Certus stands poised to shape the future of mobile satellite communication.


How does Iridium Certus extend connectivity?

Iridium Certus extends connectivity beyond traditional terrestrial and cellular infrastructure, reaching remote locations with its global coverage. It redefines mobile satellite communication in maritime, IoT, aviation, land mobile, and government applications.

Who sells access to Iridium Certus for Kiwis and Aussies?

Pivotel is an authorized provider selling access to Iridium Certus for users in New Zealand and Australia.

What are the pricing details for Certus mobile plans?

Certus mobile plans by Pivotel start from $130 per month, offering voice and data services. However, bandwidth may be limited, and extra data is priced at $1 per megabyte.

What speed does Certus offer, and will it be upgraded?

At launch, Certus offers 352 kilobits per second, with an expected upgrade to 702kbps later. In 2020, another speed upgrade to 1.4 megabits per second is anticipated.

What types of users are expected to benefit from Iridium Certus?

Emergency responders, government agencies, private and government utilities, maritime users, and IoT applications are expected to benefit significantly from Iridium Certus.

How much does a terminal to receive the satellite signal cost?

A terminal to receive the satellite signal costs $2875, but larger volume customers may receive it free. Additionally, satellite phones for Iridium Certus cost around $2300 to $2500 each.

What kind of number do Certus users receive, and what are the calling rates?

Certus users receive an Australian 04 mobile number, and calls are priced around 60 cents per minute, significantly lower than traditional satellite phone calling rates.

What are the alternatives for satellite services in New Zealand?

Farmside, delivering service predominantly through the Optus satellite, and Vodafone NZ are notable alternatives to satellite services in New Zealand.

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About the author

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur has been an integral voice in the New Zealand gaming landscape for years.

As a senior writer for PokiesMobile NZ, Kamal brings rich experiences from her diverse background.

Born in India and later migrating to New Zealand, she effortlessly blends her cultural insights with a deep love for gaming.

Kamal is renowned for her in-depth game analysis, player strategies, and knack for spotting industry trends.