Call Home with Satcom Direct… Onboard and on Your Existing Phone!

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Carrying on with satcom telephony we have a bit more background data on another connectivity solution for travelers that features the use of a flier’s existing phone number for inflight telephony. This past week we got in a news release from Satcom Direct with the following headline: “Powered by the Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM), GlobalVT is the first app that enables passengers to use their number on their smartphone, in-flight, anywhere in the world. Now, the GlobalVT mobile app is available for Android, delivering access to this revolutionary service to more smartphones across the globe.”

The news release went on to say: “Satcom Direct is continually delivering connectivity enhancements that aircraft operators want, particularly enabling use of smartphones in-flight, just like on the ground, and expanding this unique capability from iPhone to Android. Powered by the proprietary GlobalVT service and the exclusive SDR, passengers are connected to the appropriate network coverage, facilitating calls and SMS text messages during all phases of flight from taxi, to takeoff, to landing.” They also noted: “The GlobalVT service provides crisp, clear connections through its innovative voice codec developed specifically for satcom calls.”

Here is how they do it: “By replacing their existing ‘end of life’ (or ‘last generation’) onboard router with the SDR at their next maintenance event, flight departments can add the power of GlobalVT to their communications arsenal. The SDR brings next generation technologies that make it an ideal replacement solution for routers ending their useful life. The SDR not only interfaces with current networks; it’s designed to work with future networks including Ka, Ku and L-Band, and other new networks in development. STCs are available for most major airframes. The GlobalVT mobile app is available on Google PlayTM and on the App Store.”

We had a few questions about how the system worked so we sent a short note to the Satcom Direct folks with a few questions:

IFExpress: Please advise what hardware must be added to the “router” to receive Satcom Direct signals. Does it require installation engineering or certification costs?

Satcom Direct: GlobalVT is powered by the Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM). The SDR is a connectivity platform in itself. It only needs to be connected to the appropriate satcom provider’s system on the aircraft and combined with the GlobalVT service to enable individual users’ smartphones. Only GlobalVT allows calls and SMS texts to and from the individual’s own mobile number  – no other special numbers or actions are required. GlobalVT works on both Android and iPhone. STCs are available for most aircraft, and the cost of the router is similar to that of other routers, yet it is so much more powerful. Usage costs are based on satellite airtime provider plans. The end user simply downloads and configures the GlobalVT mobile app to make calls on GlobalVT equipped aircraft. Here is a link to a video describing how GlobalVT works.

IFExpress: What satellite constellation(s) can be used?

Satcom Direct: The SDR not only interfaces with current networks; it’s designed to work with future networks including Ka, Ku and L-Band, and other new networks in development.

IFExpress: Is this an application for commercial, business jets, or both?

Satcom Direct: Currently, GlobalVT is available for business jets.

IFExpress: Since the product is sized “portable”, can you provide a picture of the pertinent hardware?

Satcom Direct: Here is an image of the SDRTM

Editors Note: You can check out their website for more information.  And, here is a link to the newly released GlobalVT Android App!


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