Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions often asked by customers:

Prepaid airtime

Q1. I don't want any long term commitments or a contract. Do I need a contract or can I buy prepaid airtime?

A1. Various prepaid airtime bundles are available with different validity windows.

The IsatPhonePro or IsatPhone2 airtime validity window for recharges depends on the recharge amount.

From 1 June 2012 onwards, Inmarsat will not sell prepaid recharges with a 2 year window for the IsatPhonePro.

From 31 December 2016, BGAN prepaid recharges have up to 1 year airtime windows.


Q2. Will I forfeit any remaining units on the expiry date?

A2. Only if you don't recharge before the expiry date of the airtime window.   The expiry date is visible when you do the balance enquiry.   It is safest to recharge a few days before the expiry date.

If your balance is zero when you recharge, the current recharge's validity window will be applicable.


Q3. How do I recharge?

A3. Phone or email Zippisat to recharge your airtime. Proof of payment or credit card details will be required to complete the recharge transaction.


Q4. How long can I talk with 100 units of prepaid airtime?

A4. As of 1 August 2019 the "burn rate" per minute is 1.5 units for the IsatPhonePro and IsatPhone2.  Therefore 100 units will be about 67 minutes to a landline or cell-phone or another IsatPhone. Billing increment is the first 30 seconds then 15 second increments thereafter.

SMS and small emails are half a unit per 160 characters.

BGAN voice calls are less expensive per minute than IsatPhone voice calls.

Calls to other satellite phone networks are very expensive; for example, calls from IsatPhone to Iridium cost 11 prepaid units per minute.


Q5. Do I pay to receive calls or SMS or email?

A5. Receiving calls or SMS or email is always free. You will however pay for any diverts (to voicemail or another number if call diverts occur).


Q6. How do I check my IsatPhone's balance?

A6. Dial *106#. Your balance and current expiry date will appear on your IsatPhone's display. The balance is Inmarsat units.


Q7. How do I check my BGAN's SIM card balance?

A7. Dial 591, e.g. 591# or 591 (depending on the terminal you use). Your balance and current expiry date will be available in the audio message. The balance is in Inmarsat units.


IsatPhonePro and IsatPhone2

Q1. What is the IsatPhone's standby time?

A1. Approximately 100 hours for IsatPhonePro and approximately 160 hours for the IsatPhone2.


Q2. What accessories are available?

A2. The phone is supplied with AC and DC chargers, wired headset and USB adaptor. Other accessories such as external car antenna, indoor docking stations and pouches are for sale for the IsatPhonePro.

For an improved data connection, we can supply the GMN WiFi Optimizer and XGate subscription.


Q3. How much does the SIM card cost?

A3. The SIM is supplied and activated by Zippisat and is included in the price.


Q4. Can I use an IsatPhone anywhere in the world?

A4. The phone can be used where there is Inmarsat-I4 coverage. Download the IsatPhone coverage map here.

There are however, a few countries with laws against the unregulated use of satellite phones.  If in doubt about travelling to a certain country, please contact Zippisat and we will inform you of any known regulations or procedures.


Q5. How do I send a message to an IsatPhone?

A5. View how to send messages to IsatPhone users here.


Q6. How much do I pay to receive calls, messages or Twitter feeds?

A6. Nothing. You are only charged when you send messages, make outgoing calls or divert your incoming voice calls (for example to Voicemail or another number).


Q7. Can I do data calls or internet with the IsatPhonePro or IsatPhone2?

The IsatPhone has a very slow circuit switched (dialup) data connection. It is therefore not recommended for standard internet usage or internet banking, etc. However, it can be useful for small text files/emails or small GRIB weather files on a yacht if nothing else is available and where usage is restricted to essential information. For an improved data experience, we can supply the GlobalMarineNetwork (GMN) Redport WiFi Optimizer device and XGate subscriptions to enable a better internet connection via laptops, tablets and iPhones/iPads.

Note: for a proper internet connection (e.g. to do internet banking) please use a BGAN terminal. The GMN Wifi Optimizer and XGate can also be used with BGAN terminals.


Download IsatPhonePro Quick Start Guide here.


Download IsatPhone2 Quick Start Guide here.


Q1. Can I have a remote office anywhere?

A1. The BGAN terminals can provide telephone and data services anywhere where you have a clear line of sight of any of the Inmarsat-I4 geostationary satellites.

Download Inmarsat-I4 coverage map here.


Q2. Is the bandwidth and QoS good enough for video calling or VoIP (e.g. Skype)?

A2. Yes the basic connection is good enough, or you can have a guaranteed bitrate with various streaming options. In our own testing the latency was not a problem, even for VoIP solutions like Skype.  Standard voice calls will be much cheaper than VoIP calls in most cases.


Q3. How do I check my prepaid BGAN balance?

A3. Dial 591, e.g. 591 or 591# from the BGAN terminal, or contact Zippisat.


Q4. How do I check my voicemail?

A4. Dial 570, e.g. 570 or 571# (depending on the terminal you use), from your BGAN terminal. 

Q5. Can a BGAN SIM be used in the AddValue iSavi IsatHub terminal?

A5. Yes.  The SIM can be cut smaller and the Inmarsat network allows BGAN airtime plans, including cheaper geographical plans, e.g. the Geo-Southern Africa plan. 


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