Globalstar is hoping to open up the satellite telephony market to a wider audience with the introduction of its first pre-paid service.
Pricing pre-paid satellite calls at €0.48 (US$0.65) per minute makes using satellites affordable for anyone frustrated by inadequate mobile network coverage, according to Globalstar.
The service is offered in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and will be expanded to North America and Latin America before the end of the first quarter.Potential users are fishermen in the Atlantic, emergency aid workers in North Africa, leisure boat owners in the Mediterranean and oil and gas workers in the Nordic countries. In the U.K., the service is also a good fit for hikers in Cumbria, sailors in the English Channel and farmers in Wales, Globalstar said.
To make satellite calls users need a special phone. The GSP-1700 is the smallest and lightest satellite phone from Globalstar, measuring 135 by 55 by 37 millimeters and weighing 200 grams. The GSP-1700 is a candy bar phone with physical buttons and a 4-line, 12-character screen.
The phone costs €490 and offers 4 hours of talk time and up to 36 hours of standby time. It can make calls as long as it isn’t warmer than 55 degrees Celsius or colder than minus 20 degrees, according to a spec sheet on Globalstar’s website.
Globalstar pre-paid cards are offered in denominations of 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1,000 minutes. The company’s IVR (Interactive Voice Response) platform lets users access voicemail and top up or check account balances in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese and Arabic.