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Satellite telephones – almost ready for prime time

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In the 1990s these were the next big thing, but after Motorola could only sign up a handful of subscribers, the venture crashed and burned into bankruptcy.

Now, like a phoenix risen from the ashes, satellite phones are back, costing no more for either equipment or airtime than cellphones in the early days.

The Globalstar GSP-1600 costs $645 on the above website, with calls costing as little as 17 cents a minute.

They’ve got over 120,000 subscribers now, up from 58,000 at the end of 2001 and 77,000 in 2002.

People who travel internationally find satellite phones are often more reliable than cellphones and even landlines.

Bet a satellite phone wouldn’t cut out, as my cellphone does, a mile away from my house, itself only a couple miles from downtown.

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  • They failed in the early 1990s because the handsets weighed 5-7 lbs and because THEY DID NOT WORK INDOORS.

    Other than that it was great. I suspect they have since fixed the problem with the weight of the handsets.