Satellite and GSM Cell Phones for Military

Deployed Crewmen

Satellite Phone Service

hughes satellite phonesTelestial satellite phone solutions offer service from industry leading satellite providers including Iridium, Globalstar & Thuraya. While each satellite service provider offers it’s own unique benefits and advantages the best phone for you will ultimately depend on your application and destination (a satellite phone does not always translate into a world phone with global coverage).  For your consideration we have listed a brief introductory section on each satellite phone describing the highlights: coverage area, rates and popular features. We recommend that you review all three options in order to find the satellite phone that best suits your needs.

[Satellite Phone Rentals]
[Satellite Phone Purchases]

Worldwide GSM Mobile Phones

Afghanistan SIM Card

More service members, DoD Civilians, and contractors are deployed to Afghanistan, other points in the CENTCOM AOR, and even to Africa and Asia.  At geographically-separated locations or when based out of primitive locations not on a large military installation, it can be very difficult to stay in touch with family and friends.  But, with widespread GSM coverage worldwide, you can purchase a worldwide GSM phone and then insert the appropriate overseas SIM Card and be able to connect from virtually any location worldwide.

Check out our discount Afghanistan SIM card and GSM world cell phone packages.

Philippines SIM Card

Deploying to ENDURING FREEDOM in the Philippines?  The Southern Philippines provinces although rural, still boast excellent GSM cell phone coverage.  Consider purchasing a  Philippines SIM Card.


Military Satellite Phones

We use the same technology the US Military is using to communicate worldwide while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Use our Satellite Phones to communicate with your friends and family from any location in the world.  We salute our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.  Purchase a Satellite Phone and stay connected even while on deployment.

If you work, live or travel in areas outside cellular coverage or in areas with inadequate landline service, a satellite phone is for you. Eighty-six percent of the world’s landmass and all of its oceans are in areas with inadequate landline service. A satellite phone addresses these situations by providing coverage in all ocean areas, air routes and all landmasses – even the Poles. Unlike a GSM cell phone a satellite phone offers a communications solution that is independent of location.

Costs are actually more reasonable than you can imagine – but the real benefit is your flexibility in communication – no more standing in long lines at the morale tent or the lone DSN line in the compound.  Now, you can call… and you can be reached by family and friends.

We offer Satellite Phone Rentals as well as Satellite Phone Purchases.

thuraya satellite phonesWe’re a team of specialists based in San Diego, California, entirely dedicated to developing prepaid wireless programs that provide open access to any leisure and business traveler around the world. And, with the added convenience of Internet ordering supported by in-house staff members, Telestial, Inc. is an unparalleled partner. Our customers tell us that staying in touch with family and colleagues while overseas is their number one travel concern. Since it is a challenge and sometimes an unnecessary excessive cost for most U.S. cell phones to function in Europe, Asia, Africa and other parts of the world, Telestial offers international cell phones starting at just $99 and prepaid service that offers travelers convenience and security along with local calling rates.

We also offer satellite phone sales and rentals for travelers visiting remote regions that lack cellular coverage and for cruise ship passengers who want to stay in touch while avoiding those $8/minute ship to shore calls. And, in addition to providing a valuable service for your customers, we excel at creating incremental revenue for your business.

Hughes 7101 Satellite Phone

Hughes handheld Thuraya satellite phone provides voice, fax, internet access, short messaging and remote location determination services (GPS) in 99 countries spanning a large region of northern, central and western Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. This is all provided by a single geosynchronous Thuraya satellite, but when satellite coverage is not necessary, the handset can also access the GSM cellular network.

[Mobal World Roaming prepaid SIM card]      [Afghanistan Prepaid SIM card]

Military Deployment Phone Calls

Deployment Military Phone Calls – SPAWAR Calling Cards

Operation Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom
Are you or someone in your family deployed overseas in support of the Global War on Terror?  Stay in touch with family and friends when deployed to forward locations, even in Iraq and Afghanistan.  With Morale Phone access from even the most remote locations, the only thing missing is a good, reliable calling card.  Purchase one of our prepaid calling cards and call home from one of the AT&T Calling Centers or via the DSN Switchboard.

International Calling Cards

Calling From:
Calling To:


SPAWAR MWR Phone Calls

Military Calling Cards

The US Military’s SPAWAR has installed new MWR Phone Call Centers.  Connected to SPAWAR’s network it is easy to call home and stay in touch.  With a large number of phones at each location, simply dial the area code and phone number, then enter your PIN Number.  You must purchase specific SPAWAR Phone Calling Cards to use these phones.  Visit the SPAWAR website to buy your calling cards.

New Prepaid Calling Cards from Iraq & Afghanistan
MCI has introduced a prepaid calling card that can be used from Iraq. This card is sold in $10 and $20 denominations. The rate to call from Iraq to the US is 45¢ per minute. A $10 card will allow for a 22 minute phone call from Iraq to the US and the $20 has 44 minutes for the same call. This card can be used to call anywhere in the world from the US and can be used from about a 130 different countries around the world. Call to the U.S. from U.S. Military Bases worldwide on a DSN line (Defense System Network) for 5¢/min. Check out the MCI Card

AT&T is installing calling centers and phones in U.S. Military bases and camps in Iraq and other locations in the middle east. These AT&T Calling Centers have phones that automatically connect to AT&T USADirect Service for calls back to the U.S.; the phones accept a variety of payment methods, including AT&T Prepaid Phone Cards. Look for dialing instructions on the phone. Calling centers are currently installed at Al Asad Air Base, Al Sahra Air Base/Tirkrit-Palace Complex, Baghdad Int’l Airport, Balad Air Base, Camp Babylon, Camp Falcon, Camp Performance, FOB Speicher, MEK Compound, Mosul Air Base, Muleskinner, Talil Air Base and Victory Base in Baghdad. Installation is pending at Al Kut, FOB Munsan, FOB Q-West, and Kirkuk. Rate to use the AT&T Prepaid Card from Iraq AT&T Calling Centers to the US is 45¢ per minute. Call to the U.S. from U.S. Military Bases worldwide on a DSN line (Defense System Network) for 5¢/min. Check out the AT&T Card

International GSM Cell Phones
International GSM Cell Phones are convenient for frequent travelers.  Buy one cell phone that will work in hundreds of countries overseas.  Then all you need is to purchase SIM Cards valid for the region or countries that you are travelling to.  Check out the best International Cell Phones.

>>International cell phone promotions with prepaid service and free incoming calls

Military Satellite Phones
We use the same technology the US Military is using to communicate worldwide while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Use our Satellite Phones to communicate with your friends and family from any location in the world.  We salute our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.  Purchase a Satellite Phone and stay connected even while on deployment.

Voice Over IP VOIP Calling

Deployment Pay

Army Soldiers Deployed

Deployed Army Soldiers

Deployment Combat Zone
Military Pay Entitlements

Military Pay entitlements change when Service Members deploy. For more Military Pay information check out our Military Pay section.  The following information is provided to help Service Members arrange their finances in preparation for deployment:

a. Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). Soldiers will deploy in a TCS status. All deploying Soldiers will receive BAS / Separate Rations. BAS will continue for Soldiers who are receiving it at the time of deployment and will be started for Soldiers who are on meal cards.

b. Per Diem. All deployed Service Members who are in a Temporary Change of Station (TCS) or TDY status are entitled to OCONUS incidental per diem at $3.50 a day or $105 a month. Most contingency areas have check cashing functions, but no ATMs; so take your checkbook and/or a cash advance on your government travel card, before you depart.

c. Hostile Fire Pay (HFP)/Imminent Danger Pay (IDP). HFP/IDP is payable to all Service Members in the total land and air space of Iraq. Service Members receive $225.00 a month for each month, or part of a month, in which the Service Member is present in the HFP/IDP area. Entitlement starts upon arrival to the authorized location and terminates upon departure.

5-10 minute Online Personal or Debt Management Loan Application

d. Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE). Public Law authorizes CZTE for all Service Members receiving HFP in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Service Member who is present, however brief, in this area, including airspace, and is on official duty qualifies for CZTE for that month. All pay for both enlisted personnel and warrant officers is tax exempt for the months spent in the CZTE area.

All enlisted pay, allowances, andleave, earned in a TDY location, designated for ‘Combat Zone Tax Exemption’ (CZTE), are tax free.  Bonuses are paid, based on rank when earned.  Bonus money remains tax free, even if paid in installments over the next several years.  When tax exempt leave is taken, taxable wages are reduced on W-2 wage & tax statements at end of tax year, based on the number of days members earned while in combat zone. Commissioned officer pay is tax exempt at an amount equal to the Sergeant Major of the Army’s Basic Pay plus HFP. For calendar year 2004, this is equal to $6,315.90 per month (6,090.90 + 225.00).

Combat zones and the applicable dates are determined by Presidential Executive Order. Currently, members assigned to the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, part of the Arabian Sea that is north of 10o N latitude and west of 68o E longitude, Gulf of Aden, total land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan are in a designated combat zone.

e. Hardship Duty Pay-Location (HDP-L). Indicated as Save Pay on the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), is payable to all Service Members on a monthly basis according to location and living conditions. HDP-L is for service members serving in areas located in 150 countries designated by the Secretary of Defense as arduous.

HDP-L pay is designated for service members who serve over 30 days in these designated areas. They receive an amount varying from $50 to $150 month depending on the designated area of service. Those service members serving in areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq qualify for both Imminent Danger Pay and Hardship Duty Pay and can earn up to $325 per month in additional compensation.  HDP-L is prorated if you are in the AOR for a partial month. (ref: DOD FMR Vol 7 Table 17-1).

Currently, HDP-L is payable at a rate of $150 per month for all Service Members assigned to Area-I in Korea. Deployed Service Members will continue to receive HDP-L.

f. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Service Members drawing BAH at their permanent duty station (PDS) will continue to draw BAH during the deployment.

g. Family Separation Allowance (FSA). FSA is paid when a Service Member is involuntarily separated from his/her dependents or active duty spouse for more than 30 days. It is payable at $250.00 per month, or $8.33 per day. Service Members currently drawing FSA will continue to do so upon deployment. Service Members who reside with their Command Sponsored or Non Command Sponsored Family members will receive FSA the day they depart for the OIF Theater.  Stay in touch with your family with cheap voice or video phone calls over the internet.

The purpose of Family Separation Allowance (FSA) is to defray minor costs incurred due to enforced separation over 30 days. Separation must begin with a continuous 30 day separation.  Temporary visits are authorized after the member is separated from the Permanent Durty Station (PDS). The supporting document for payment of FSA is DD Form 1561 (Statement to Substantiate Payment of Family Separation Allowance). Ensure the certifying officer signs this form before submission.  Reference: DoD 7000.14-R Volume 7A, Chaper 27.

Cheap Phone and Video Calls Over the Internet

h. Selective Re-enlistment Bonus (SRB). The SRB is entirely tax-exempt when a Service Member re-enlists in a CZTE area. Accrued leave sold by enlisted Service Members while in a CZTE area, whether earned in that area or not, is tax exempt. Leave accrued by any Service Member
while serving in the CZTE area, which remains unused at separation, is tax exempt.

i. Savings Deposit Program (SDP). All Service Members deployed at least 30 consecutive days may contribute to this risk free program. Service Members may make any number of deposits in any amount each month, provided the total deposited in a one month period does not exceed the Service Member’s monthly net pay and allowances. Interest is paid at the guaranteed rate of 10 percent per annum, compounded quarterly (calendar quarter).  Contributions are limited to $10,000, so the most someone could earn is $500 in interest over a six-month deployment or $1,000 for a one-year deployment. The money must be withdrawn within 90 days of returning from the deployment region.  This is a great opportunity for service members to accrue at a higher interest rate than at an average interest rate of two or three percent.

Service members use the program by making deposits with their deployed finance unit. Service members may begin making deposits on their 31st consecutive day in the designated area. Eligibility to make deposits terminates on the date of departure from theater. Active duty members may make deposits by cash, personal check, traveler’s check, money order or allotment. Reserve component members may make deposits by cash, personal check or money order only. Standing policies regarding personal check acceptance and regulatory restrictions regarding number and type of allotments apply.

k. Leave and Earnings Statements (LESs). LESs and Mid-month Net Pay Advice forms will be sent to the Service Members at their deployed locations. In addition, Service Members with access to the Internet will be able to access their LESs through “myPay” online at Special-Leave Accrual (SLA). SLA accrues when a Service Member
serves in an area in which he or she was entitled to Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay for at least 120 continuous days. Special Leave Accrual authorizes Service Members to carry up to 90 days of leave at the end of a Fiscal Year. Accrued Special Leave must be used before the end of the third fiscal year after the fiscal year in which the qualifying service ended.

With a general power of attorney, Service Members can grant their spouse access to their LES. Spouses with power of attorney should request the LES from the unit’s rear detachment commander or NCOIC. By law, spouses are not authorized to have Service Members “myPay” PIN.

l. Power of Attorney (POA). With a special power of attorney, the Service Member can grant their spouse the right to establish, change, or stop an allotment. The special power of attorney must specifically state the authority to establish, change, or stop allotments. In addition, a special power of attorney can be used to establish, change, or stop transactions involving the Thrift Savings Plan and the Savings Deposit Program.

m. Dependent Support. Service Members must ensure their families have access to adequate financial support in their absence. This may include access to checking and/or savings accounts or establishment of allotments. Checking accounts are generally preferred in order to maximize access to funds by both the Service Member and their dependent(s).

n. Pay Adjustments. The manifest will be used to start, stop and adjust numerous pay entitlements. It is critical that Service Members returning prior to the main body (ie. emergency leave, etc.) are reported to finance and are followed up on by the rear detachment commander to ensure the necessary adjustments are made. Failure to make the adjustments will result in overpayments and cause unnecessary and extreme hardships on the Service Member.

Military Spouse Finance Guide
A Military Spouse Finance Guide: Financial Advice for the Homefront provides real-world information and easy-to-implement solutions for those who want to effectively manage their family’s finances. With tips and examples that can be used throughout a person’s military and civilian life, the Military Spouse Finance Guide is a comprehensive look at how to control your money, rather than having your money control you.

Military Deployment Payo. Deployment Locations and Benefits.  Below are deployment locations and the entitlements and benefits per location.

KUWAIT: Hardship Duty Pay -$100, Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

SAUDI ARABIA: Hardship Duty Pay – $100 (Ar’ar Airport & Tabuk Air Base only), Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

AFGHANISTAN: Hardship Duty Pay – $100, Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

UZBEKISTAN: Hardship Duty Pay – $100, Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

PAKISTAN: Hardship Duty Pay – $100, Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

IRAQ: Hardship Duty Pay – $100, Hostile Fire Pay, Savings Deposit Program, CZTE, FSH-II, BAS, Per Diem, SLA

p. Combat Zone Tax Exclusion Zones.  Combat zones are designated by an Executive Order from the President as areas in which the U.S. Armed Forces are engaging or have engaged in combat.  There are currently three such combat zones (including the airspace above each):

  • Arabian Peninsula Areas, beginning Jan. 17, 1991 — the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, the part of the Arabian Sea north of 10° North latitude and west of 68° East longitude, the Gulf of Aden, and the countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Kosovo area, beginning Mar. 24, 1999 — Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Albania, the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea north of the 39th Parallel.

  • Afghanistan, beginning Sept. 19, 2001.

Public Law 104-117 designates three parts of the former Yugoslavia as a Qualified Hazardous Duty Area, to be treated as if it were a combat zone, beginning Nov. 21, 1995 — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Macedonia.

In addition, the Department of Defense has certified these locations for combat zone tax benefits due to their direct support of military operations, beginning on the listed dates:

In support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan combat zone):

  • Pakistan, Tajikistan and Jordan – Sept. 19, 2001

  • Incirlik Air Base, Turkey – Sept. 21, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2005

  • Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – Oct. 1, 2001

  • Philippines (only troops with orders referencing Operation Enduring Freedom) – Jan. 9, 2002

  • Yemen – Apr. 10, 2002

  • Djibouti – July 1, 2002

  • Somalia – Jan. 1, 2004

In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Arabian Peninsula Areas combat zone):

  • Turkey – Jan. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2005

  • Israel – Jan. 1 through July 31, 2003

  • the Mediterranean Sea east of 30° East longitude – Mar. 19 through July 31, 2003

  • Jordan – Mar. 19, 2003

  • Egypt – Mar. 19 through Apr. 20, 2003

    CZTE information from IRS Website

q. Other Reimburseable Expenses for TDY Travel.  When submitting TDY travel vouchers, claim conference fees, lodging costs, taxes on lodging, CTO airfare and service fees (charged to GTC), and rental car amounts in the “Reimbursable Expenses” column. Attach original and one copy of receipts for these items. Military members and “disabled” civilian employees may claim personal baggage handling tips at the airport. All personnel may claim taxi fares (no receipt required if under $75); ATM fees ($2.00 or 3% of ATM withdrawal-whichever is greatest), and baggage handling for “government property”.

It is always a good idea to save money for “a rainy day.”  Take a look at our Military Emergency Savings Plan article for advice on setting money aside for emergencies and contingencies that come up – an especially good idea to accomplish before a service member deploys.

Military Pay Calculator

Military Retirement Calculator

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How do I get my free annual credit reports?

An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  To order your free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies, visit, call toll-free 877-322-8228

New Post-9/11 GI Bill

With the passing of the Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act, the GI Bill has undergone its greatest transformation since its inception.  Check out the latest changes to this program including the ability to transfer your benefits to your spouse or kids.  Check out the New Post-9/11 GI BIll

Military PCS

PCSing soon?  Are you looking to sell your home?  Perhaps you are looking for a new home to buy or rent. is the place to go.  Here you can list and browse homes for sale and rent.  By selling your home “by owner” you save a lot by avoiding the high commission rates that realtors charge.  With an easy to navigate, powerful search interface, this website is the premier for-sale-by-owner website!  Check out the new changes to the military PCS reimbursements.  Whether it’s your first move or your twenty-first move, read the PCS Lessons Learned

 Military Computer Discounts