Today AT&T and TerreStar announced a new partnership that will make hybrid satellite-cellular phones available to customers in the U.S. The service will provide normal cellular access when users are covered by AT&T's cellular network, and can seamlessly switch to the satellite network for coverage in remote areas of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in territorial coastal waters. Along with the new service, AT&T and TerreStar are also announcing the Genus smartphone. This hybrid device runs Windows Mobile and offers quad-band GSM/EDGE and dual-band UMTS/HSDPA 3G radios. It has a 2.6-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, and is what AT&T calls "a standard smartphone size and form factor." Exact pricing for the service and the handset weren't announced, though users will be required to subscribe to standard AT&T voice and data plans, and will pay roaming charges when using the satellite network. The service is not going to be available until the first quarter of 2010. The Genus and associated satellite-cellular services will be available to government and business customers first, but AT&T said that it is also working on a consumer variant as well.
What I don't understand is the article said there will be roaming charges when using the sattelite service, don't you think ATT will set up some sort of roaming agreement with this sat company, and a bundled minutes rate plan. Similar to if you go abr... (continues)
Missing the point. The coverage from space is only supposed to be in the US and several other areas. You pay out the ass for other sat coverage that works worldwide. I could imagine $.50 a minute which is fine. Data I imagine would run a bit more ... (continues)
"The service will provide normal cellular access when users are covered by AT&T's cellular network, and can seamlessly switch to the satellite network for coverage in remote areas of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in t... (continues)
... of a device like this is NOT for people who live on fringe coverage, it is not for people who drop calls in areas of no coverage...It is for people who travel and work in areas of no coverage, i.e., Alaskan pipeline, off-shore oil-riggers, people in the vast non-populated areas of the American west. It is absolutely NOT going to be cheap, because, satellite service has always been very expensive, but, if you are in the niche market that needs the added coverage, or already subscribe to satellite service and now want satellite and cellular on one device, it is for you. They are more than willing to pay for the satellite service, otherwise, it's not for you.
According to another site, the cost of the equipment will be $800-$900. You will sign up for a regular voice plan plus pay $24.99/mo for satellite access. Calls in the US will run $.65 and data $5.00/Megabyte. Still, that is on a par, or even less tha... (continues)