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$800 Terrestar Genus satellite phone deployed on AT&T

We hear about world phones all the time, but very few will give you reception when you’re in the middle of nowhere. For the truly hardcore, only the newly announced Terrestar Genus will do.

You could say it follows somewhat in the footsteps of the Iridium handsets of old, except this business-minded phone is more in line with contemporary expectations. It’s running on Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and, in addition to satellite telephony, it’ll stay locked on to your GSM/HSPA network when you’re among civilization. Other highlights include WiFi, touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth, camera, and GPS.

The $800 price sounds pretty outlandish by today’s standards, but a satellite phone has always been expensive, both to buy and to use. The Terrestar Genus is being sold by AT&T for $799, and that’s the contract price my friend. You’ll still need a regular phone plan, plus the crazy per-minute rates for satellite calls. A great phone for those who travel and want to avoid exorbitant roaming fees, which are probably around the same price as your sat phone link.

Oh, and before you get any bright ideas about traveling to the forests of Borneo or the frozen tundra of Siberia, know that Terrestar only provides coverage in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and Alaska coming by way of an external antenna.

TerreStar GENUS™ Dual-Mode Cellular/Satellite Smartphone Now Available From AT&T

AT&T’s Satellite Augmented Mobile Service Provides Satellite Wireless Voice and Data Communications for Business and Government Customers
DALLAS, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ — For many people it’s crucial to stay connected wherever life takes them. Thanks to a new offer from AT&T*, it’s now easier and more convenient than ever before to have mobile coverage in remote locations or when the cellular network is unavailable.

AT&T’s new Satellite Augmented Mobile Service with the TerreStar™ GENUS™ dual-mode cellular/satellite smartphone is now available for enterprise, government and small business customers. Intended to be used primarily as an everyday mobile device, the TerreStar GENUS smartphone is an innovative dual-mode device with cellular wireless capability as the primary default mode and satellite access capability as a secondary option for voice, data and messaging.

The access to the TerreStar™ satellite network enables wireless communications coverage in remote areas for government, energy, utility, transportation and maritime users, as well as backup satellite communications capabilities for public safety agencies, first responders and disaster recovery groups.

With just one phone number and one smartphone device, users with a line of sight to the satellite will have access to expanded voice and data roaming coverage in the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and in territorial waters. The TerreStar GENUS runs on the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system to provide rich features and functionality, including a touch screen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, camera and GPS.
According to an AT&T Business Continuity Study(1) conducted earlier this year, businesses are stepping up their technology investment and efforts in disaster planning and business continuity programs despite the economy; and mobile devices are increasingly part of business continuity plans.

“We understand the importance to stay connected in remote locations and especially in emergency situations, and today’s announcement is the latest example of AT&T’s commitment to delivering the highest levels of service, quality and reliability for customers,” said Michael Antieri, President, Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. “With this expansion of AT&T’s innovative mobility portfolio, AT&T is helping businesses and government agencies stay connected with a single device, single support contact and single bill.”
“With advancements in satellite technology, satellite-based communications is poised to be the next standard in everyday mobile devices,” said Jeffrey Epstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of TerreStar. “We are pleased to work with AT&T to bring powerful integrated satellite-cellular solutions to market, providing customers with critical communication capabilities and a great mobile experience.”

Availability
The AT&T Satellite Augmented Mobile Service and the TerreStar GENUS is available today to enterprise, government and small business Corporate Responsibility Users. The service requires standard AT&T cellular voice and smartphone data rate plans, as well as a monthly satellite subscription feature. Usage of the satellite network for voice, data and messaging is not included in the monthly feature charge and is billed as per-minute, per-message or per-megabyte roaming charges on a customer’s AT&T Mobility service invoice.
Enterprise, government and small business users should contact their AT&T sales representative for information on availability and ordering.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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