Satellite Calls… with Your Smartphone!

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Did you know that there are kits on the market that allow you to ‘connect’ via satellite from remote areas of the world? 

They are produced by Intermatica Spa, an Italian company specialised in telecommunication solutions. The topic is interesting and deserves attention. Keep on reading!

Differently from other mobile network operators, Intermatica offers  integrated solutions also for satellite telephony. Its operational  headquarters are in Rome, the network infrastructure is installed at  Milan’s Avalon Telehouse. Intermatica is the Italian official national  operator for the satellite operators Thuraya, Inmarsat, Iridium,  Globalstar and Avanti Communications.

Having clarified the importance and seriousness of the ‘builder’, let’s pass on to the description of the kits THURAYA SATSLEEVE+ and THURAYA SATSLEEVE HOTSPOT, both usable with your smartphone and particularly interesting for who travels alone in remote regions far from civilisation.

The mobile will continue working normally with its SIM card every  time or place the traditional network is present (GSM, 3G, 4G or LTE).  If there is no coverage the SIM in the Intermatica kit will connect to  the Thuraya satellite network, allowing you to make calls, send text  messages, read emails, update social network profiles (the tariff is not  based on time but on the volume of megabytes used).

The use of the satellite requires to be in an open place to point the  aerial towards the sky… not necessarily yours, as you will read further  on. Both kits have an SOS button for emergencies that sends a call to a  pre-defined number even when the smartphone is disconnected.

Thuraya Satsleeve+

It’s the best option if you want to have your connection always ready  also when on the move. It’s made up of a satellite base (sleeve), that  holds the rechargeable battery, the Thuraya SIM card, the aerial, and a  universal adaptor with a smartphone holder clamp.

The two devices communicate via Wi-Fi and an app (SatSleeve Hotspot), downloadable for free from Google Play or the App Store.

Thanks to the GmPRS connection (15 kbps upload – 60 kbps download),  it is possible to continue using your smartphone’s functions keeping in  touch with emails and applications, also when there is no network  coverage.

Audio communication, both incoming and outgoing, goes through the App  on your mobile: in this way it is possible to use the smartphone also  when it is not connected to the SatSleeve adaptor, provided it remains  within a 30-metre radius (so as not to lose the Wi-Fi connection).

Use is immediate: once the communication between the two devices has  been activated, you just need to insert your smartphone in the adaptor  and launch the downloaded application.

The link to see the tutorial video on YouTube: 

Thuraya Satsleeve Hotspot

SatSleeve Hotspot works separately from your smartphone. It is made  up of a SatSleeve satellite base holding the battery, Thuraya SIM card  and aerial, a tilting adaptor that allows it to be used outdoors, in a  spot where it can face the satellite, creating a satellite Wi-Fi area so  you can use the mobile also indoors.

Also this kit requires the free SatSleeve Hotspot Application.

At the Intermatica shop it is also possible to purchase the clamp  that holds the phone (standard issue for the previous kit) and connect  the two devices together. Compatibility with the tilting base is  guaranteed.

The link to see the tutorial video on YouTube: 
Retail price (including VAT), identical for both kits, is €599, which  becomes €688 with a NOVA PLUS pre-paid SIM card with free satellite  traffic to try the quality of the service and 24 months’ guarantee.


Size: SatSleeve+: 138x69x42 mm (Adaptor included); SatSleeveHotspot:142x69x38mm( Adaptor included)
Weight: SatSleeve+ Base: 180 g – Adaptor 76 g. ; SatSleeve Hotspot Base: 180 g – Adaptor 110 g.
App Menu: 12 languages
Functions: voice and data in SAT mode
Satellite aerial: Retractable (10 cm)
Display: It depends on the smartphone used
Data transmission: Packet GmPRS ›  download up to 60 kbps ›  upload up to a 15 kbps
Battery: Li-ion 3,7V, 2.440 mAh › talk time: up to 3 hours*› stand-by time: up to 9 hours* with Wi-Fi on, up to 70 hours* with Wi-Fi off (*with optimum ‘visibility’ conditions of the satellite)
Power supply: 5V DC / 2A
Memory: It depends on the smartphone used
Connectivity: 3,5 mm jack for headset, micro USB for charging and upgrade, DC charging jack, SOS button
Connection: Wi-Fi
Protection against environmental agents: Na
Operating temperature: from -10 °C to +55 °C
Humidity: between 5% – 95% RH at +40 °C
Shock resistance: na
IntegratedGPS: Yes, possibility to pre-set a number to which a text message can be sent with your GPS coordinates
Compatibility: Windows operating systems, not compatible with iOS
Package: SatSleeve base, SatSleeve+ or SatSleeve  Hotspot adaptor, battery, USB cable, travel charger with international plugs, quick guide, instructions manual
Smartphone: not included

All About the ‘nova Plus’ Satellite Sim Card

It’s a new profile created to have a particularly convenient tariff  only from certain areas and countries covered by Thuraya (see table  below). One satellite tariff for voice, data and fax traffic. Outside of  NOVA countries it is still possible to use the service at a different  tariff.

Price plan: Unit/minute
Satellite mode: Voice and GmPRS services already active; 9.6 kbps data and fax service on request;
GSM roaming: Available only for incoming calls and on certain networks/countries
Free: 20 traffic units
Validity: 24 months from the first call (to place within 6 months from the activation date)
Renewal: 10 units for further 24 months


From NOVA Countries: 0.74 0.69 7.94 3.50 ; from Other Countries: 1.69 1.09 9.49 3.50

Cost of sending an SMS: 0.35 Unit
Voice pricing: Every 20 seconds, with no connection fee. The cost of the Units varies according to the amount recharged.
GmPRS data pricing: Per packet, with 100 kbps increase.
GSM roaming: There are costs for incoming calls at 0.50 Units/minute

NOVA Countries: satellite services are used in compliance with local regulations on the use of satellite telephone equipment.

*Countries with coverage limit: in some areas of the territory the satellite service may not be available on a continuous basis

The Thuraya Network

It is a system based on a network of state-of-the-art geostationary satellites which cover 140 Countries.

The operator, Thuraya Telecommunications Company, was founded in 1997  to offer satellite mobile telecommunications services in Europe, Middle  East and parts of Africa and Asia. The first satellite, Thuraya-1 was  launched into orbit in October 2000. The system became operative during  the second half of 2001. Coverage was further expanded in the following  years thanks to the launch of other satellites. Since 2008 Thuraya  services have been available also in the Far East and Oceania. The  system supports data and voice transmission via satellite. A network  created to offer personal mobile services also in remote areas and  evolved to complete the offer with devices for use in vehicles, both on  land at at sea. Intermatica has been the Italian reference partner for  Thuraya since 2002.