July 2, 2009

Second Life for Satellite Phones Could Happen this Year

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by Franz Bicar

Making phone calls anywhere could be a possibility. Well technically, now, with wide signal coverage offered by different carriers, you can actually do that.

You’re up in the mountains where cellphone signals can’t reach you, or these carrier services go down due to cataclysmic phenomenons, then what you do? Satellite phones! That’s the answer to the problem.

However, the appeal and distribution of satellite phones (including mass-market endeavors) have failed miserably. Its early backers such as Globalstar, Iridium, and Odyssey learned about it the hard way. But that is not stopping TerreStar Networks, a Virginia-based satellite firm.

The Washington post reported that TerreStar Networks plans to launch a mobile phone service this year that offers a mix of satellite and cellular service. Unlike the bulky, brick-sized satellite handsets of years past, a TerreStar device will be no larger than a conventional smartphone.

In theory, the setup works great. While in cell range, users of the service will connect via AT&T network, then whenever users go out of range, it will automatically switch to the company’s satellite service. This could prove useful for government agencies, health and humanitarian workers and even for people who conduct business anywhere and everywhere.

All in all, the success of this technology and TerreStar’s goals will depend on several factors. First of all, the pricing the company is willing to impose on its subscribers, secondly, the reliability of the services offered. If service is consistent and reliable, then this service is bound for global success.



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Comments

2 Responses to “Second Life for Satellite Phones Could Happen this Year”
  1. Mark Toft says:

    Why in the world do you mention Odyssey in the same sentence as Iridium and Globalstar? Odyssey never even launched one satellite.

  2. Franz Bicar says:

    Odyssey Telecommunications International Inc.did launch their own satellite phones. I didn’t read the entire article (I’m at work right now) so there might be a line there somewhere that says I’m wrong, but as far as I’ve understood, Odyssey did launch a satellite phone.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=105&STORY=/www/story/07-23-2001/0001539050

    Also, to show Odyssey Telecommunications’ work on “satellite phone” technology, here are other links:
    http://www.cellular.co.za/mss.htm
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/TRW+issued+patent+for+Odyssey+satellite-based+worldwide+cellular…-a017289870

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