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The Hidden Costs of Buying Iridium Satellite Phones from the Low-Cost Provider!

Jul 31, 2008
A quick Google search on "Iridium 9505A Satellite Phones" will display a wide variety of prices and airtime plans. However, what does it all really mean? Is buying a phone for $1,395 really better than buying one for $1,495? Are you truly saving $100? Perhaps not? It is critically important to understand there are very distinct differences between the equipment, services, and options that Iridium Service Providers offer which significantly impact the retail price of the phone. In general, low price means very few options and services, if any, while higher prices include more accessories and service.

Sure, you bought at a seemingly great price and your phone(s) arrived in the standard Iridium factory packaging. However, did your low-cost vendor perform the following essential tasks for you that will ensure your Iridium satellite phones are fully operational in the time of greatest need: emergency response, business continuity, or communication in remote areas with the intangible reasons being to save lives, time and money?

Task: Description Time Value
Unpack: Open each phone box, remove all components, 10 min, $4.81
Read: Read set-up instructions, 10 min, $4.81
Inventory: Verify you have received all components, 3 min, $1.44
SIM: Insert the SIM card in each phone, 3 min, $1.44
Charge: Unpack charger, insert battery, charge phone, 3 min, $1.44
Label: Print a label and label each phone, 4 min, $1.92
Charge2: Check on charging status, swap phones, 5 min, $2.40
Test: Remove PIN code and make, receive a test call, 20 min, $9.62
Trash: Packaging disposal, 2 min, $0.96
Case: Buy case for kit, 30 min, $14.43
Pack: Pack the kit into the phone case, 5 min, $2.40
Card: Create, print label and laminate a user card, 30 min, $14.43
Errors: 20% No offense, but do you do this daily? 25 min, $12.02
TOTAL: The REAL total additional time and cost, 150 min, $72.12
(Value based on $60,000/yr salary)

Additionally, what is the opportunity cost for you and your organization to unpack and properly set up the phone? Setting up your Iridium phone will take you or your Admin person away from other high value projects which can more than double the cost of "doing it yourself". Isn't your time worth more than the value of setting up an Iridium phone? Once you've set up your phone, how will you keep all the accessories together? Will your low cost vendor provide a carrying bag for you? What if you have trouble setting up your phone? Is 24 X 7 support available to you at no cost?

And here's a scary thought: What if you have to set up 50, 60, 80, or 120 phones? Do you have the time? Do you have the staff? Oh, yes, do you have a place designated for setting up and charging a large quantity of Iridium satellite phones?

Summarized below is the total of all the real hidden additional costs of buying Iridium satellite phones from the lowest cost provider:

Self setup $72.12
Opportunity cost $72.12
Nylon carrying bag $20.00
Easy instruction guide $10.00
1 hour support $28.85
Total: $203.09/phone

But you bought the phone at the "lowest price" didn't you? Or, so you thought! The lowest price is simply a number and is usually the lowest overall value. The highest value encompasses far more and saves you more time and money in the end. When you receive the Iridium satellite phone you bought from a customer service oriented provider, all of these tasks are taken care of for you, and done right. Simply turn on the phone and you are ready to go!
About the Author
Lou Altman is the CEO and Founder of GlobaFone, an award winning, leading provider of Iridium Satellite Phones and global wireless solutions to Government and enterprise clients for the past 10 years. Other articles can be viewed at http://www.SatellitePhoneStraightTalk.com. GlobaFone is located in Portsmouth, NH and Lou can be reached on 603-433-7232.
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