PTT Satellite Phones

Iridium® Push-to-Talk: Reliable Coverage on Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Traveling from his home in Belgium to Tanzania, Elmer Lampe began his journey to become one of the estimated 25,000 climbers each year who reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru summit. Before he left Belgium, Elmer and his wife Kim understood the importance of a reliable communication plan. As the couple researched options available to them, they knew they needed a solution that would allow them to maintain a reliable communication link between Elmer on his Kilimanjaro climb and Kim, back at her family’s home in The Netherlands.

The Network Innovations team carefully reviewed the available options with Elmer and Kim knowing that not all satellite phones are suitable for all mountain climbing applications. Satellite phones need a direct line of site to the satellites in order to operate so it is important to check the route taken and the position of the satellites. If someone climbs a mountain like Kilimanjaro in the Southern Hemisphere and uses a satellite phone that connects to a geostationary satellite above the Equator, a clear line of sight to the North is required. Given that most routes on Kilimanjaro approach from the South, the mountain could be in the way. Elmer and his wife wanted constant connectivity without having to consider their position in relation to the mountain. So the Network Innovation’s team recommended the Iridium ® network with its 66 low-Earth orbit satellites to ensure connectivity even on the South side of Kilimanjaro. Given Elmer’s challenging climb and their desire for instant communication at the push of a button, the Iridium Extreme® Push-To-Talk (PTT) was selected. Always on and connected, the PTT handset was ready every day at the appointed time allowing Elmer to activate the communication at the push of a button. To provide greater convenience, Network Innovations also recommended an external antenna to Kim, allowing her to be connected to Elmer while she was inside her home. Reaching the Summit Elmer’s best moment using the Iridium Extreme® PTT was on the day he reached the top of Kilimanjaro. Not knowing the exact time Elmer would reach the summit, the couple had not pre-arranged a time to call but decided to speak live from the summit so they could share the moment. Using the external antenna, Kim had the handset on standby in The Netherlands waiting for Elmer’s call. At 6 AM, Elmer’s voice came across the satellite phone letting his wife know he had achieved his climb and he was standing on top of the Uhuru Summit. Thanks to Iridium Extreme® PTT, Kim was able to relax and share the triumphant moment with her husband as she had been with him every day on the mountain.