Satellite phones are affordable for off the grid travel
Satellite phones rely on orbiting or stationary satellites for connecting you to land lines, cellphone and other satellite phones. Depending on their location above earth, up to 1000 miles high, they allow voice and data connectivity from vast regions worldwide that have no cellular service.
This means phoning and texting with friends, relatives and co-workers or 911 emergency access while camping, hiking off the grid, sailing or cruising worldwide. Satellite phones have become affordable with similar pricing to mid/high end smartphones and in Globalstarís case airtime rates as low as 25 cents a minute. Thatís lower than many cellphone roaming charges abroad.
Although the enterprise service Globalstar and partners offering goes beyond casual voice calls, like a remote pump jack being monitored by satellite, the Spot Global Phone fits the needs of more demanding consumers.
ďIf youíre an entrepreneur, and have a couple of people working for you, and you decide to take a week of vacation you may need to manage your business and be productive even though you may want to go to your cabin that is far beyond cellular service,Ē said Fintan Robb Senior Marketing Director with Globalstar. He added that subsidized plans, similar to smartphones are in the works.
Robb said folks who want smartphone experience-like streaming video will have to wait for a while as the current data rate for hand phones is still too low at 9.6 kbps.
The Spot Global Phone is light weight and small with the necessary but smartly designed folding and retractable antenna. It charges quickly, lets you access your voicemail, receive 35 character text messages and check and respond to email with the optional data kit, and off course, 911 access.
Spot Global Phone covers worldwide dense population areas with no cellular connection
Its most impressive feature is the clarity of voice calls, akin to the average cellphone. This, due to Globalstarís completed launch of its constellation of next generation LEO (low earth orbit) satellites, transition from its older satellites and wider bandwidth. Globalstar does not cover the entire globe, concentrating on high population areas that have no cellular connectivity. All of North America, Central, South, Europe, Russia, Europe, North Africa, parts of the Far East and Australia, New Zealand as well as surrounding coastal waters are covered.
Being able to know you can be in touch with a simple handheld phone when off the cellular grid is rocket science with assurance.
Plans vary with monthly rates or annual seasonal rates that let you use your airtime minutes over the entire year, instead of monthly. The current Orbit 40 plan for example for $39.99 monthly in a one year contract letís you talk for 80 minutes while the Orbit 200 plan gives you 400 minutes per month for $99.99. An all season plan like the Galaxy 480 offers 960 minutes any time in a one year period for $480.
Globalstarís Spot Global Phone, $499.99 available now at London Drugs, with monthly or annual talk plans.
Black Blade:I had an Iridium sat phone a few years ago in SE Asia. Was part of a kit that was the size of a briefcase. Now they are about the size of a handheld cellphone and the price is much cheaper now. Good for comms when off grid.