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Inmarsat iSatphone

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Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:44 pm

there's a threshold where I'd always buy a sat phone over any other device, and that's maybe at $300 for the device and $10 a month or less. That is more than the Spot, but low enough that they could sell thousands each year to types like us. Now, the network load would not be high, so I can't see why they would not want to get into that volume market? It's not like Inmarsat is selling cell phones. Their only real appeal is that their stuff works where cell phones don't, so they always will have to aim at that niche user group who cares about that capability.

I think to increase their user sat phone user base, they really only have two options - outperform the other platform technically, so those who are paying $50 a month or more per phone will switch for that extra whatever feature or reception quality they get, or they go for the unwashed masses and make it cheap enough to get 6 of those for $10/month and grow the user base that way.

There may be some fears that we will eventually overload their system with our calls from Lyell Canyon to grandma, but that's where the minute pricing will always put a cap on it, I think. Do they have limited phone numbers to give out?

I think they just don't have the distribution channels to really go for the masses, and the risk that it will flop when they do put one of these things into an REI may be too high for the investors. On the other hand, I guess they are just used to dealing with corporate clients and don't have a real game plan to push into the unknown consumer market. Just look at the Terrestar thing - they never even tried to sell that to individuals, even though they had ATT on board. Perhaps they already know it was a dud, who knows.

But what do I know. I'm just a consumer looking at paying another year of Spot ($99/year), or dropping $600 on a phone, $180 a year on a subscription, plus $1.25 a minute? :-({|=

I really need to buy a mounain bike for my daughter right now, and the more I look at this, I think I can wait another year and see what happens. If they can do a prepaid plan in the US, I may go for it. When I go on my winter JMT (April 2013 probably) I will need one of these things, though, but a lot can happen in those 20 months.



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Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby tim » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:00 pm

The problem is these phones cost ~$400 each to make (Terrestar was even more, probably closer to $1000), before you've recovered any of the millions of dollars invested in developing it (not to mention the billions of dollars spent to build the satellites - Iridium is just investing $3B to replace its constellation).

It's impossible to sell it to you for <$300 and $10 per month even if you could sell thousands (and in fact there are nearly 200,000 users in North America who've been prepared to pay what it costs at the moment).
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Re: Inmarsat iSatphone

Postby fishmonger » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:12 pm

interesting stuff - looks like they heard my whining and now there's a "short term" contract plan available

http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/isatphone_service.html

$20 a month for 3 months, plus $1.50 per minute. I can live with that, since most years I only will use it once for a 4-5 week window, and the calls will be limited to emergency and the occasional quick check in. Cheaper than my anual Spot plan if you don't chat it up. so now I just have to get over the price of the phone...

another vendor seems to offer monthly plans at even lower price, but contradicts that in the small print where each plan requires an annual commitment. Gotta call them ($15 per month on a monthly basis, $0.89 per min, free activation).

update - this second vendor requires a 12 month signup. So the $20/mo 3-month deal is the only short term available in the US until some sort of Patent claim is resolved that will allow them to sell prepaid cards. In Canada, you can buy the phone with 200 minutes good for 2 years for $799 - now that would be my package. Anyone know who and what this American Wireless Prepaid company is and why Iridium can sell prepaid cards and Inmarsat can't?
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