Billing: Internet vs Satellite delivery and message count

It seems that the main advertised feature of the Messenger device - ability to seamlessly switch from Satellite to Internet - is not working as expected.

Just checked my second bill against my notes. The main problems are related to:
1. Someone sends you a message (either by replying in SMS thread or using theirs Messenger app). If your Messenger app is open and your iphone is connected to a reliable wifi/LTE, then in more than 50% of the cases it will be correctly delivered over Internet and invisible in your bill. But in some cases it is obviously immediately delivered over internet (my Messenger device does not even have any view of the sky), but is still charged as delivered over Satellite in the bill.
2. You can't be sure which way this message was delivered to you until you receive your bill. Initially, in the app it seems to be delivered over Internet, but when I double check it after the billing period restarts and then it reads as delivered over Satellite.
3. You can't trust the message counters. There are three: in the Explore homepage, in the Messenger App and you can check it in Messenger Device itself. All three are presenting different numbers so you never know if you're over your allowance limit until the bill arrives.

The combination of the above problems stops me from using Messenger as the only messaging app while on a hike: I know I will be charged for some of the incoming messages even if I have a perfect LTE connection.

My far shot is the server-side code does not re-attempt to re-deliver the message over internet if the initial push notification wasn't successful - it immediately falls back to Iridium even if the internet message would be delivered 2 seconds later. I guess a simple re-try up to 3 times with 15s waiting period will fix it..

Anyone knows any temporary solution to this problem? How do you deal with this unreliability of transport layer selection?


  • First off, in general, the ONLY message counts which are dependably accurate are the ones on your bill. The explore web site, the device itself, and any paired app (for examaple, Explore or Earthmate) have always been iffy. The MESSenger thing about Internet vs. satellite just makes this worse.

    IMO, the best way to handle this to use your PHONE for messaging if you have service. In fringe areas, you may in fact have SMS (and voice) connectivity even when you do not have data service.

    Only use the Messenger when you have no service. Or in an emergency when inReach functionality and the associated SAR functions are needed. I know this flies in the face of the stated purpose for Messenger. But I have hard time justifying using more technology just for the sake of technology. If I have cell service, why drag other stuff in?

    AFAIK, SOME things are always sent by satellite. In particular, "sent trac points" always go out via satellite.

    If you want to pursue this, open a support ticket. I doubt that anything will change, but you might get your billing adjusted.

  • If I have cell service, why drag other stuff in?

    Let me explain: the only reason is the service is patchy in my area. Mountain bike training: LTE on one side of the mountain, no service on the other. Hill-walking and 3G on the top and no service in the valleys. So, when I send a message in no-service area and I receive a response over LTE half an hour later, it's just disappointing this response is deducted from my monthly allowance. 

    All the rest - fully agree. Thanks a lot for your answer.