Satcom Direct simplifying in-flight dialing processes

 - November 28, 2006, 11:59 AM

Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct (Booth No. 225) has introduced a new service called International Global One Number, or iGON, that allows customers to use “home country” telephone number prefixes when traveling. The service eliminates the need for customers who are based in Europe to dial a U.S.-prefix routing number when placing voice, fax or data calls.

Satcom Direct’s Global One Number service cuts through what is often a cumbersome and confusing process by providing a single satcom telephone number that includes the country code followed by a certain number of digits, just like a regular phone number. Without a Global One Number, callers must navigate a maze of dialing logic that includes knowing in which of four world regions the airplane is operating and even which handset onboard the aircraft should be rung.

Especially useful for calls routed to the airplane’s home country, the iGON service lets passengers use the same country code prefix on the airplane as in their home country, no matter where in the world they are flying. For now iGON numbers are available for aircraft based in France (+33), Italy (+39), Spain (+34), Sweden (+46), Switzerland (+41) and the UK (+44), but the company has plans to expand the list to other countries soon. The annual fee for the service is $975. Per-minute charges for Inmarsat satcom calls are extra, generally running about $8 each.

Satcom Direct now also offers lower-cost calling services for buyers of Iridium satcom equipment through agreements with hardware suppliers International Communications Group, Sky Connect, WingSpeed, Honeywell and AirCell. The company said customers who buy a two-channel Iridium system, as an example, can assign a single 10-digit phone number to both telephone receivers instead of two separate 15-digit phone numbers.

Pricing for Iridium calls through Satcom Direct is $1.45 a minute (to and from the aircraft) or $.99 a minute for calls placed between two Iridium phones. The monthly fee is $24.95 per telephone channel, plus $5 for the Global One Number service.

Based in Satellite Beach, Florida, Satcom Direct has more than 3,000 customers, most of them business jet operators.