Inmarsat IsatPhone: Modestly-Sized Satellite Phone

isatphone_small.jpg

While you’re still going to pay a pretty penny to actually use it, the IsatPhone from Inmarsat is relatively compact for a satellite phone—only the giant antenna really gives it away. The IsatPhone also works on GSM networks, making it possible to pack only one device.

The IsatPhone is designed for use in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East using Inmarsat’s Indian Ocean region coverage. It’s available for about $775 at various satellite phone equipment retailers.

Product Page [Inmarsat.com via Red Ferret]

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5 Responses to Inmarsat IsatPhone: Modestly-Sized Satellite Phone

  1. kas says:

    Not so much like the old Nokias… but almost identical to the design of the older Ericsson phones (prior to being brought by Sony). Almost a bit too similar if you ask me…

    http://www.gsmarena.com/ericsson_a1018s-114.php

  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually, apart from the huge antenna, it looks exactly like an Ericsson phone from before the Sony-Ericsson era.

    http://www.cellular.co.za/phones/ericsson/archive/ericsson_gsm_phones_1994_1997.htm

  3. airshowfan says:

    MSV and Boeing are working on creating a satphone network which will be able to use phones that are the same size as current cell phones. How will the satellite be able to talk with such a small handset antenna? Well, it will help to have the largest reflector dish ever put in orbit (over 20 meters in diameter) which also happens to be one of the most efficient in capturing and emitting signals:

    http://www.msvlp.com/media/press-releases-view.cfm?id=84&yr=2006

    Once this is done, the hope is that these phones will use cellular networks most of the time, and only talk to the satellite when in areas where cell signal is poor. To the user, of course, it will just seem like a cell phone that works everywhere. This will be particularly handy in areas that are too sparsely populated for telecommunications companies to want to build cell towers (i.e. no one wants to build a cell tower someplace so sparsely populated, only 10 people will ever use that tower. No matter how many minutes they use up, the tower won’t pay for itself), such as the rural US and the deserts of the Middle East. In fact a smaller version of such a satphone network is already in place in the middle east, although the not-quite-so-huge reflector on that satellite means the satphones are not quite cellphone-tiny (but they are the smallest satphones in the world, and probably will be until the MSV ones come out):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thuraya

    http://www.thuraya.com/content/flexible-dual-mode-technology.html

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s like those good ol’ nokias that everyone had and you could change the faceplate one

  5. Halloween Jack says:

    I was about to say something snarky like, “Oh, yeah, great idea, anyone remember Iridium?”, but then I do the obligatory Wikicheck, and holy crap, they’re still in business:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridium_%28satellite%29

    Fun fact: the current owners bought $6 billion worth of satellites for $25 million. Sweet!

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