Satphone Realities

GSP1700We bought a Globalstar GSP 1700 Satphone and are glad we did. Several folks have wondered…why? Why not Iridium or IsatPhone? It comes down to money and quality.

Money: Our 1700 cost us $400. Our monthly plan is $30 after all the taxes are added. Our usage limits for voice and data are — NONE. When we want to use it we pick it up and use it. With an exception. The Globalstar satellite constellation has diminishing weaknesses rooted in problems stretching back almost two decades. (These are being systematically eliminated.) There are good times for making calls and bad. The overall availability for the system runs 88-90% and is improving. The graphic below shows the current effects of signal strength “holes” in coverage. The other phones: IsatPhone = $600, Iridium = $1700. For $30 a month we could buy 9 minutes of IsatPhone time or 15 minutes of Iridium.


Availability over Three Days. I took out six data points where my spreadsheet was choking on subtraction across midnight, but they don’t affect the picture. There are also a few uptimes less than a minute, I didn’t take them out, but you can see where they are. Availability 88% Worst Downtime ~25 min Best Uptime ~125 min


UP/Down Time Distribution over Three Days

Quality: This ties back to another post about quality = fitness for use. The Iridium and IsatPhone costs act as a deterrent to using the phones unless one’s pockets are far deeper than ours or the need is far greater. And I can testify from business usage, the more expensive phones didn’t perform any better than the Globalstar. I just didn’t have to check a schedule provided by the Globalstar Call Times Tool. For us, the Globalstar system offers the best quality at a lower price than some unlocked smartphones.

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