While mobile network coverage and mobile hotspots are getting more common, there are places in the world, like that remote island escape, that cellular signals can’t reach. It is for such emergencies and more that Iridium and Globalstar are outing their new mobile hotspots that deliver the Internet via satellite.
Globalstar’s Sat-Fi is a rather unique service that doesn’t really replace your smartphone. Instead, it acts more like a bridge that connects smartphones to regular networks except that it does so through a satellite connection. In practice, this means that users will be able to use the smartphone for calls, messages, and of course, the Internet quite seamlessly.
The Iridium Go! is also quite unique but resembles more the conventional mobile hotspot device and setup. The hotspot can support up to five simultaneous devices. Activating the device is as simple as opening the antenna, which automatically activates the hotspot and connects to the company’s satellite network. The hotspot also has its own display built-in to show users the connection status. The Iridium Go! boasts of a MIL-STD 810F and IP65 rating based on the presumption that areas where you’re unlikely to get even a cellular connection would be areas you would expect to require some rough handling.
Between the two, Iridium has a more ready business plan in place. The Iridium Go! is expected to carry a $800 price tag plus a $35 monthly fee for the data plan and is planned to launch sometime in the first half of this year. The Globstar Sat-Fi, however, still has to pass the FCC, which should happen around the second quarter.