Telecommunications company, Optus, is offering Australians an easier path to connectivity in remote and isolated regions.
The company has launched satellite sleeves, which transform a range of compatible smartphones into a satellite phone, at Optus stores on a 24-month payment plan or for outright purchase.
The Optus Thuraya SatSleeve was previously only available online or through an external dealer network for outright purchase.
It works with compatible Android and non-Android smartphones and will be stocked in selected stores across Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, with more stores to follow in coming months.
Optus local markets director, Steve Long, said the SatSleeve is for fly-in fly-out workers in mining or gas exploration locations, to grey nomads and tourists traversing Australia, as it provides coverage to even the most isolated parts of Australia.
“With the SatSleeve, Optus customers no longer need to rely on being within close proximity to a mobile base station for coverage," he said.
"As long as they have a SatSleeve and a direct line of sight to the sky, they can make calls, send SMS or check their emails across Australia.
"By rolling out the Optus SatSleeve to our retail stores and providing a pay-over-time option, we are hoping to make mobile connectivity in remote locations easier and more accessible than ever before.”
Long added that satellite phone technology and plan pricing has come a long way in recent years, providing added flexibility for customers who want to bring their own device.
“Traditionally, satellite phones have been a bulky standalone handset which meant customers often had to carry two phones – their personal phone and their sat phone," he added.
"With Optus’ SatSleeve, compatible devices can simply click into the sleeve and continue to work as they normally would.
"That means no duplicating contacts, no coverage concerns, and all the convenience of having photos and other data stored in one single handset."
The Optus SatSleeve device costs $888 (RRP) or $37 a month over 24 months (minimum cost $888 over 24 months).
To purchase the SatSleeve over 24 months, customers need to connect to a 24-month post-paid mobile plan as well. For call diversions to SatSleeve, there is no additional charge for new customers or those on My Plan Plus and My Plan Business mobile plans.
Satellite access costs $15 month to month, and additional call, SMS and data usage charges apply when using satellite network.