Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro
Texting’s time has come. Sending brief messages to and from smartphones has become a real alternative to those emotion-ridden telephone conversations or the stultifying formality (!) of e-mail. Inmarsat began offering text messaging and data transfer through its IsatPhone Pro—that blue phone with the foldout antenna—over its world-wrapping satellite communications network in March. While the data speed is a byzantine 2.4kbps, it allows you to send and receive simple e-mails with basic attachments (like a pdf). Prices vary by reseller agreement, but here’s a general guideline. The IsatPhone Pro has a street price of around $599. Airtime works out to about $0.80 to $0.99 per minute, while short 160-character SMS texts are $0.55 per message. The program is acting as a sort of lead-in to the company’s late-July launch of FleetPhone. This bulkhead-mounted system has hardware starting at $2,100 and will offers similar functionality to the IsatPhone Pro. But there are some added safety features, including access to the “505 emergency calling” system (think SOS), which puts you in contact rescue agencies near your location. Another feature is an automated system that sends an SMS message to designated recipients with your location each day.