The value proposition for satellite phones used to be pretty simple: voice and data solutions where there was no terrestrial network. You bought a phone and subscribed to service and made your calls and sent your data – usually painfully slow or fast and expensive. This has all has changed.
Iridium broke the ice with AxcessPoint a couple of years ago; pair your device to this Wi-Fi hotspot and texting and internet/e-mail were all yours. Then Thuraya introduced Sat Sleeve, an ingenious little device that snapped around your iPhone, effectively making it a satellite phone. I recall Iridium CEO Matt Desch publically congratulating Samer Halawi (Thuraya CEO) at the Satellite conference last year.
Last week Globalstar announced SAT-FI, a Wi-Fi device that allows you to pair to your smart phone data service but also calls. That’s right you will now be able to make phone calls from YOUR phone over a satellite network using the device and an app. SAT-FI will be available second quarter this year.
This week Iridium announced Iridium Go, also a Wi-Fi device that enables voice and data over your Smartphone, connected to the Iridium network. With Iridium GO you can connect up to five devices supporting a range of functions including voice and data, GPS and SOS services. Iridium Go will also be available second quarter this year.
This is what really jazzes me about this industry; the innovation, the thinking that solves problems, the way that technology can solve more problems and, in the SatCom space, keep us connected anywhere – truly anywhere. This means the global boundaries are no more: you will be able to take your Smartphone literally anywhere in the world and make and recieve calls and data. How cool is that?
So as we progress down the road of continued development, just imagine what we will be doing next year, or in two years. And we’re not even into the real Gen2 services that are on the horizon.
This industry just gets better and better….
Thanks for reading.