Inmarsat IsatPhone, bring it on!

Inmarsat handset

Before you get overly excited, note that so far you can only use this new satellite phone in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. But according to the Inmarsat announcement, the service will be worldwide by the end of 2008. Like Iridium, the IsatPhone does data at a piddly 2400 bps, but that’s enough for email and file up/downloading, especially with a little help from XGate. And especially when the phone’s expected retail is “about $500” with voice calls at less than $1/minute. The data rate is 9600 when the phone is used in GSM mode; that’s Globalstar speed, but hopefully delivered more reliably by Inmarsat. There will also be a worldwide FleetPhone version of this service—with a down-below handset and external antenna—said to be “ideal” for smaller fishing vessels and yachts. “We are coming to shake up the satellite phone market,” says Inmarsat’s CEO. I think the reaction of a lot of offshore boaters will be: “Bring it on!” 

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

3 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    Yes, absolutely! Bring it on! Iridium is still offering an ancient handset and needs a wake up call on equipment and pricing. And there is no “Global” in Globalstar.

  2. Damon says:

    Not related to this but I thought you might like to see this link
    http://sevenstarelectronics.co.uk/
    It states that their AIS class B transponders have been USCG approved. Maybe you can get more information as I couldn’t tell if it’s legal to sell in the US now and if so where to purchase it and cost.
    Any other transponders being USCG approved?
    Damon
    s/v Bruadair
    http://www.bruadair.us

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Nope, as noted on SevenStar’s “Hot News” page, AIS B units are not legal for sale in the U.S. until the FCC approves them. A half dozen or so are already U.S.C.G. approved. I recently heard that the FCC might finally come through in the next few weeks…but I’ve heard that before!
    More here: http://tinyurl.com/3b3ywc

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