I thought I’d try and explain the communication intricacies to you so you all know what’s happening.
When we landed in Islamabad we could use mobile roaming from Vodafone although expensive it was good enough to get messages and images back.
When in the hotel we could use their WiFi again this was pretty basic but worked ok.
On travelling to Skardu again we could use data roaming in some areas, not all of Skardu was covered, and the hotel was very basic in terms of tech so it was hit and miss. We bought some SCOM SIM cards and put them in our phones which enabled data calls to be made, WhatsApp calls or Facebook messages calls. This was through data packages we had to buy….. the more calls/images and data used the more it costs.
We had been told that SCOM worked all the way to base camps which would be a game changer based on our last Exped experience.
However it did not work until Goro 2 which was 3 days in. ANY calls images or texts before this was through either:
Garmin tracker: 180 characters, simple texts messages and location tracking. We pay for this monthly £68 from the uk. Can be used anywhere but is not private, however neither of us are interested in reading each other’s texts!
SAT phone: as of previous years we have our own phone which can make and receive calls.
It’s super expensive and I think its charged with $200 initially.
BGAN: this creates a WiFi system for us. It connects with military satellites and transmits data for us. It’s pre paid with a minimum of $309 for 200mb which if receiving images isn’t much. It’s a challenge to get perfect coverage but works really well. However if we were to use it like an SCOM sim it would cost about $170 a day!!!!!
Note from ME (Ady), this is what we have raise funds for without them knowing so that they can continue to recieve and send not only images and videos to loved ones and us followers but also receiving weather forecasts.
Now, at base camp SCOM is very intermittent which is why it seems as though you get 100 texts then nothing. BUT still unlike back home when everything is free or at least paid for, here everting costs, although a teenie tiny amount each time it still costs.
Today, 8th July the storm that hit us on the mountain wiped out the antenna for SCOM meaning we are back to our own PAID for means. Like the BGAN.
All of our means are being managed and administered by Ady back at home, through tracker texting he is sorting it all. So we have the inevitable time issues.