Optus offers up satellite access for iPhone, Galaxy owners

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Travellers can’t always rely on telco reception because some areas just aren’t covered. We’re not talking Sydney or Perth, but rather places where talking means communication via a satellite, and if this is you, your choice of communication gadget just opened up a bit.

If you don’t want to part with your Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy and you need stronger phone connections than can normally be provided, such as with a satellite, Optus sends word that the Thuraya SatSleeve has been made available for recent iPhones — one of them, anyway — and Samsung’s Galaxy S range of phones.

From this week, you’ll be able to plonk an iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 into a specially designed accessory that will turn the smartphone into a satellite-capable smartphone, connecting to the Optus satellite service when a direct line can be seen to the satellite itself.

An app is required to activate the SatSleeve, but we’re told this satellite driven services includes voice, data, and messaging, with the SatSleeve also able to use the contacts in your phone and not just the features from the app.

Pricing for the Optus Thuraya SatSleeve comes in at $800 for the unit itself, with each adaptor costing up to $100 per handset, with compatibility working across the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, while Apple’s iPhone will work from version 4 all the way up to the latest iPhone 6.

We’re checking to see why the iPhone 6 Plus is absent from the list, and will report back when we know for sure.