SPOT global phone

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by V8, May 7, 2013.

  1. V8

    V8 -

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    #1
  2. Snarky

    Snarky Vodka Infused.

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    Man... if it's true that you can get unlimited minutes for 150$ month, and it's satellite, and it works... It's probably the best deal ever. I pay 120$ a month for a GSM phone with 400 minutes (although with data), and I can barely get service in El Paso (unless we're talking about the Mexican cellphone networks, I get great service from not-at&t). I do like that the annual contract of 1800$ is slightly more expensive than month to month. They either should have let their marketing department just say it was 150$ a month or it was 1799.88 a year. Where's my 12 cents going?

    I would say as long as your "global map" for your Adventures with your "global phone" doesn't include Africa, India, Central America, Indonesia, northern Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe, and large chunks of China and the Middle-East, it's would be fine. It would be a heck of a tool for those crossing Russia apparently.

    Where it's yellow on the coverage map: assume it's not going to work, where it's blue: assume it's not going to work, where it's green: assume it'll never going to work in that area. You're lucky to get your SPOT locator to work in the United States when you need it most, let alone a phone. I look forward to watching the evolution of it and I hope they keep up with that 150$ a month unlimited deal. Though right it might be better just to go a more established satellite phone network. Just in billing and customer service, SPOT has always been shady because they don't fall under many consumer protection laws.
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  3. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

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    I've had shitty service with my spot. It always turns off when tracking. From what I've read they use different satellites than the tried and true Iridium network sat phones use. I got tired of paying for a service that doesn't work as its advertised. I bought a delorme INREACH that uses the iridium satellites so I can have a more reliable way of tracking and getting in touch with friends/family. If I must have a sat phone, I'd either rent one for my travels or buy a refurbished one (sold for $250) and buy the prepaid service cards.
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  4. V8

    V8 -

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    So, does anyone own one?
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  5. uhoh7

    uhoh7 wingnut killer

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    I'm curious about the phone also.

    I have used first gen SPOT for 5 years in idaho backcountry. It works. Tracking also works, but of course if you are deep in a canyon, it may not.

    SPOT is not perfect--it's a million times better than nothing.
    #5
  6. V8

    V8 -

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    I have 2 cell phones on me when riding in New England and New York.
    Both have great service in and around cities, it's when you get to the
    best roads ( street and dirt ) that the service just drops.
    #6
  7. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    This looks like it could be amazing, especially the unlimited sat minutes, and the option to only pay month by month (although the $50 activation fee is pricey, but still good if you only need it for one or two big rides a year)... But do you dial 911 no matter where in the world you are, and then speak to English-speaking GEOS? Or do you have to know the local emergency number, and hope they speak your language? This seems really cool, but the advantage of the SPOT platform is that it is nearly bulletproof and extremely simple. Not that this is going to be a purchase anytime soon, as I just bought a SPOT II, but I would also like to hear about others' experience with this phone.

    It says that you can access the internet, but that it requires an additional data plan. I can't seem to find any details on this data plan. The phone has a USB data port, so I wonder if it would be possible to tether a data connection to a tablet? I do mostly solo traveling, so sometimes it's nice to be connected when I have nobody to talk to at camp. This sounds like it has a lot of promise.
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  8. V8

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    I checked with 2 of the retailers ( listed on the spot website as having the phone ) and they never heard of it. I called Cabelas and spoke with a manager and went to Eastern Mountain Sports and both places had NO CLUE about the phone or if they will ever get it. :huh
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  9. V8

    V8 -

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    :ear
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  10. willcasp

    willcasp Been here awhile

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    Getting a satellite phone requires some research. GlobalStar (provider for the SPOT phone) has issues with their current fleet. They have been promising to turn on their new satellites to improve service, but have been delayed by regulatory problems.
    Right now, they have limited satellite access for their two way communications. SPOT uses a different part of the satellite, and is a lot more reliable than their voice service. They even have an application that will let you know what the talk times are in your area.(http://calltimes.globalstar.com/)

    I suspect some of the new satellites are coming up, as they were offering $49.99 per month unlimited calling six months ago. The call time availability has improved dramatically as well in the app.

    If you really need global coverage, or need the phone to work when you want it to, Iridium is still the best option. Iridium is aware of this, and commands a higher price. Systems such as Roadpost can give you satellite service on a subscription basis so that you can avoid running out of calling card time.
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  11. El Gato

    El Gato Been here awhile

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    The "new" Spot Global Phone is simply a re-badged Globalstar GSP-1700, which can be had on Amazon.com for $389.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000O9FS1I

    The price is very tempting, but if I was in a situation where I needed a sat phone vs. a Spot or other device, I'm not sure I'd trust the Globalstar network.
    #11
  12. stoke

    stoke ocean minded

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    Of course hijacking FLTSATCOM satellites for free with a tuned UHF radio and a homemade antenna is illegal.

    Check out the article from Wired magazine below, it's really interesting if you're into this stuff at all. Very low tech loggers and truckers do this in Brazil constantly, to the point where it's a national practice.

    Fascinating to me that with the right easily obtainable equipment, you can just hop on one of these military satellites and use it as a global repeater.

    http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2009/04/fleetcom?currentPage=all
    #12
  13. SchillerM

    SchillerM Been here awhile

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    Been hearing they are "about to go online" with their new sats for the past 5 years... We unfortunately have their service for our satellite news truck, they have left us screwed many times...
    As soon as I read thats who the SPOT uses.. I wouldn't even think of getting a SPOT...
    Matt
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  14. V8

    V8 -

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    Thanks for the info on the system that SPOT uses.
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  15. V8

    V8 -

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    Just bumping this up to see if someone is using one and what the pros and cons are.
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  16. 1derer

    1derer Sh*t Where am I?

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    Spot is owned and operated by Globalstar Communications. GS has just finished network upgrades launching numerous satellites to improve their battered reputation (just as iridium network decays). Here is an article with some more info... http://www.marketwire.com/press-rel...ts-productivity-efficiency-worker-1813101.htm

    I have used the GSF1700 and its a good phone... Now it was nearly useless for about 3 years and I was required to jump to the iridium system. With sat coms this is expected behavior as communication satellites decay. I don't have any experience with the branded "spot phone"
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  17. willcasp

    willcasp Been here awhile

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    Iridium has been working on Iridium NEXT for a while. It is supposedly a new system that will replace the old one, but will still maintain backward compatibility with existing equipment. The launch dates are 2015-2017.
    I hope that the "fixed" Globlestar network operates as advertised. Viable market competition may force Iridium to drop its prices in markets where there is a viable competitor. The big bummer being that in many locations on the planet, Iridium is the only satellite option.
    #17
  18. Montague

    Montague UDF Adventurer

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    +1 on the Globalstar system working as it should now.

    I have had my 1700 for several years and up to last year, it was hit and miss, now pretty much signal at anytime.

    But GS has just announced a new device coming out in Q2 of this year that is basically a satellite receiver/transmitter with WiFi which will allow the use of any WiFi phone on sat calls.

    This is a game changer and if the price is not outrageous (and they will grandfather my fantastic monthly plan from being a customer in the dark days), I will go that direction.

    Then the iPhone can be multi-function and allow in car use and other nice enhancements. Mind you, that will mean two battery powered devices to worry about keeping charged.
    #18