"Where the hell is that Whatley guy?"

by James Whatley on 15th July 2009

The short answer? Namibia (and more).
The longer answer is tad more complicated…

Some of the more observant Really Mobile followers out there may have noticed of late that Sir Ben of Smith has been running around keeping the lights on for all and sundry. While he has delivered some spectacular posts, it’s about time we pulled our socks up and got our hands dirty again.

Oh Hai!

Oh Hai!

Vikki laid the smack down yesterday with her ode to the Eseries (while giving the E75 a firm ‘thanks, but no thanks’ along the way), but now it’s time for yours truly to step up and take his true mantle today, on this day, Whatley Wednesday.

So, where have I been?

If you read my personal blog or if you heard the recent All About Symbian podcast, you might know that this Summer is going to get very busy indeed for the chap tapping the keys right now.

Very, very busy indeed.

Basically, I’m off around the world to cover the ‘Lucozade Energy Challenges‘ from a social media perspective. This means that I’ll be uploading photos, videos and blog posts for the next few months while at the same time tweeting my little heart out from the most remote of destinations.

I am taking a huge sack of equipment with me, a few things I’m going to list for you now…

First of all, what phone?

Given the nature of the project, the choice was simple: the Nokia N86

Yes I know that I’ve been fighting with Ben about how good the N97 is, but really, when it comes to creating content (video and/or photos) – the N86′s 8MP camera leaves the rest standing. A fantastic piece of kit that – so far – has managed to survive the heat of the Namibian desert as well as the danger-filled madness known as ‘the inside of my rucksack’.

Very, very impressed indeed. So that’s the handset sorted, but what about network? Well, the answer is two-fold.

In the areas that I actually had signal I switched between ‘NAM Cell One’ and ‘MTC Namibia’, neither of which allowed me to dial out using the Voda PAYG SIM that I was armed with. The former allowed me to use their data, and the latter I could at least send text messages, vice versa was not possible.

The second part of the ‘staying connected’ aspect of the trip came down to this bad boy -

The TT Explorer 500 BGAN Terminal Satphone.

Quick! The Satphone!

Quick! The Satphone!

According to the website:

“This high-bandwidth, highly portable device, weighing 1.3kg and measuring 218 x 217 x 52mm, is ideal for either mobile or semi-fixed use by individuals or small teams. Over a standard IP connection, it connects at up to 464kbps in the receive direction and 448kbps when sending. Streaming data is available at speeds of 32kbps, 64kbps or 128kbps for both send and receive. The terminal connects to a laptop computer via USB, Bluetooth or Ethernet. Voice is delivered via a standard desktop phone or a Bluetooth handset.”

Awesome.

Here I am, in the middle of the desert – Damaraland, Namibia to be precise – four hours drive from any kind of hint of civilisation and… I have Internet connection!

Look, there I am.

This thing is bad-ass. A snip at £2,276.64, the TT Explorer can get you an Internet signal pretty much ANYWHERE in the world and (according to my sources) only has real problems when it’s placed near the North or South poles.

However, if you think that the price stated above is too high then you can rent the satphone at the following rates.

Sent from the middle of NOWHERE

Sent from the middle of NOWHERE

Short Term Satellite Rental:

£20 a day or £500 per calendar month
Data costs are £7 per MB
Voice calls are £1.20 per minute

Compare this to, I don’t know, say Vodafone for instance and you get the following:

£35 per calendar month
Data costs are £10 per MB
Voice calls are £1.65 per minute

Admittedly you don’t have to pay the huge rental fee for a normal networked handset, but still.
If a satphone can beat the data costs of the Vodafone – especially when I’m pointing the damn thing at an actual satellite, then surely something must be going wrong somewhere, no? **

Not the good radiation either

Not that good radiation either

We’ll leave that one to the comments shall we?

The point of this post is that, thanks to some rather awesome technology, yours truly is going to be filing his Really Mobile postings from some very far flung corners from the world indeed…

If you have any questions, now’s the time to ask them…

I may be some time ;)

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**that is of course forgetting the small matter of the radiation.

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